Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CITYCARE (Impact of air pollutants on cutaneous responses in both healthy and compromised skin barrier, and innovative solutions to protect skin against urban pollution)
Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2019-08-31
The CITYCARE project aims at better understanding the effects of air pollutants on both skin barrier integrity and function by investigating the synergistic effects of air pollutants such as ozone, cigarette smoke and diesel exhaust with UV radiation. Since the percentage of the world’s population being urban is continuously increasing, there is an urgent need to protect every single city dweller from urban pollution. Although the use of sunscreens in skin care formulations provides an essential protection against the cutaneous damages caused by UV radiation, there is to date not a single class of compounds that have been identified to protect skin against the whole spectrum of environmental stressors. For this reason, an important part of the project includes the study and the testing of innovative solutions to protect skin against those air pollutants using both antioxidant compounds and film forming polymers as protective approaches.
Besides the reproducibility and the overall morphology of the human epidermal equivalents, also their responsiveness to different stimuli was investigated. In this way, the correct positive controls for assays to study the cytotoxicity, mitochondrial activity, tissue integrity and pro-inflammatory response were determined. After establishing relevant human epidermal models, exposure conditions to the several air pollutants were optimized. Additional studies are now carried out to have a deeper understanding about how these pollutants, combined or not with solar radiation, are affecting the skin. Direct and indirect effects of these pollutants are investigated.
Air pollutants of main health concern include ozone, diesel particles and cigarette smoke. Therefore, three exposure systems have been designed in order to mimic the human exposure in the most realistic conditions. Using the same HEE, a comparison between the post-exposure biological responses to the different air pollutants is possible.
Expected results include a better understanding of the cutaneous toxicity induced by three main air pollutants combined or not with solar irradiation to better counteract it with the help of protective or curative solutions, respectively film forming polymers or antioxidants compounds. In addition, mechanistic studies might give insights in the development of therapeutic solutions to fight against air pollution induced skin disorders.
Finally, the project aims at increasing the awareness of urban citizens about the involvement of air pollution in the development or exacerbation of skin diseases.