Hypo-osmotic Shock-Induced Subclinical Inflammation of Skin in a Rat Model of Disrupted Skin Barrier Function

Chihiro Kishi, Takeo Minematsu, Lijuan Huang, Yuko Mugita, Aya Kitamura, Gojiro Nakagami, Takumi Yamane, Mikako Yoshida, Hiroshi Noguchi, Megumi Funakubo, Taketoshi Mori, Hiromi Sanada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Aging disrupts skin barrier function and induces xerosis accompanied by pruritus. In many cases, elderly patients complain of pruritus during skin hygiene care, a condition called aquagenic pruritus of the elderly (APE). To date, the pathophysiology and mechanism of action of APE have not been elucidated. We conducted the present study to test the hypothesis that hypo-osmotic shock of epidermal cells induces skin inflammation and elongation of C-fibers by nerve growth factor β (NGFβ) as a basic mechanism of APE. The dorsal skin of HWY rats, which are a model for disrupted skin barrier function, was treated with distilled water (hypotonic treatment [Hypo] group) or normal saline (isotonic treatment [Iso] group) by applying soaked gauze for 7 days. Untreated rats were used as a control (no-treatment [NT] group). Histochemical and immunohistochemical analyses revealed inflammatory responses in the epidermis and the dermal papillary layer in the Hypo group, while no alterations were observed in the Iso or NT groups. Induction of expression and secretion of NGFβ and elongation of C-fibers into the epidermis were found in the Hypo group. In contrast, secretion of NGFβ was significantly lower and elongation of C-fibers was not observed in the Iso group. These results suggest that hypo-osmotic shock–induced inflammatory reactions promote hypersensitivity to pruritus in skin with disrupted barrier function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-141
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Research For Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Mar 17


  • elderly
  • hygiene care
  • hypo-osmotic shock
  • inflammation
  • skin barrier function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory


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