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Open AccessArticle

Glycosylceramides Purified from the Japanese Traditional Non-Pathogenic Fungus Aspergillus and Koji Increase the Expression of Genes Involved in Tight Junctions and Ceramide Delivery in Normal Human Epidermal Keratinocytes

1
Koji Ceramide Project Laboratory, Saga University, Saga City, Saga 840-8502, Japan
2
Research and Development Division, Toyo Shinyaku Co., Ltd., 7-28 Yayoigaoka, Tosu, Saga 841-0005, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Fermentation 2019, 5(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/fermentation5020043
Received: 30 April 2019 / Revised: 21 May 2019 / Accepted: 22 May 2019 / Published: 24 May 2019
Koji, which is used for manufacturing Japanese traditional fermented foods, has long been safely used as a cosmetic product. Although its cosmetic effect has been empirically established, the underlying mechanism has not been reported. We and other groups have previously elucidated that koji contains glycosylceramides, including N-2′-hydroxyoctadecanoyl-1-O-β-d-glucosyl-9-methyl-4,8-sphingadienine and N-2′-hydroxyoctadecanoyl-1-O-β-d-galactosyl-9-methyl-4,8-sphingadienine. This led us to hypothesise that koji exerts its cosmetic effect by acting on the keratinocytes through glycosylceramides on the gene level. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the effects of glycosylceramides from various sources on gene expression in normal human epidermal keratinocytes. The results revealed that glycosylceramides purified from white koji and the white koji-producing non-pathogenic fungus Aspergillus luchuensis and A. oryzae increased the expression of occludin (OCLN, an epidermal tight junction protein) and ATP-binding cassette sub-family A member 12 (ABCA12, a cellular membrane transporter), albeit the effect was modest relative to that of ceramides. Indeed, ceramide was increased in the keratinocytes upon koji lipid extract addition. These results indicate that glycosylceramides, which are the major sphingolipids of most natural materials, have an effect of increasing ABCA12 and OCLN expression, and suggest that koji exerts its cosmetic effect by increasing ceramide and tight junctions via glycosylceramides. View Full-Text
Keywords: koji; Aspergillus oryzae; Aspergillus luchuensis; keratinocytes; glycosylceramide; cosmetics koji; Aspergillus oryzae; Aspergillus luchuensis; keratinocytes; glycosylceramide; cosmetics
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Miyagawa, M.; Fujikawa, A.; Nagadome, M.; Kohama, K.; Ogami, T.; Kitamura, S.; Kitagaki, H. Glycosylceramides Purified from the Japanese Traditional Non-Pathogenic Fungus Aspergillus and Koji Increase the Expression of Genes Involved in Tight Junctions and Ceramide Delivery in Normal Human Epidermal Keratinocytes. Fermentation 2019, 5, 43.

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