Low molecular weight antioxidants released from the skin's epidermal layers: An age dependent phenomenon in the rat

Ron Kohen*, Miriam Oron, Abraham Zelkowicz, Ester Kanevsky, Sharon Farfouri, Uri Wormser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Skin is one of the tissues most exposed to oxidative stress both from endogenous and exogenous sources. Therefore, it can be speculated that skin possesses an extremely efficient antioxidant defense mechanism, particularly in its epidermal layers. The present study shows that human and rat skins possess different and unique reducing antioxidant profiles. These reducing antioxidants can be washed out into the surrounding environment. Non-invasive measurements indicated that skin releases low molecular weight antioxidants (LMWA) from its epidermal layers. Cyclic voltammetry measurements have shown that rat skin releases three major groups of reducing antioxidants at peak potentials of 476 and 889 and 1044 mV while human skin releases two major groups at peak potentials of 779 and 1068 mV. In rat, the overall concentrations of the LMWA secreted decreased significantly with age. The major components of the LMWA composing the first anodic wave in rats were identified as uric acid and ascorbic acid. Uric acid and other as yet uncharacterized LMWA, but not ascorbic acid, were released in human skin. Differences in the ability to release high levels of uric acid among species were well correlated with their metabolic rates. It is suggested that in rat the released LMWA may serve as a possible marker for aging of the skin.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)67-72
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Ydidut Foundation Mexico. RK is affiliated with the David R. Bloom Center of Pharmacy at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


  • Aging
  • Antioxidants
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Cyclic voltammetry
  • Free radicals
  • Non-invasive
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Skin
  • Uric acid


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