J Med Food. 2015 Sep;18(9):999-1006
Epidermal hydration is maintained by the epidermal lipid barrier, of which ceramide (Cer) is the major constituent. We examined the dietary effect of royal jelly (RJ) on epidermal hydration in aged mice.
Altered Cer metabolism was further determined by measuring epidermal levels of individual Cer, glucosylceramide (GC), and sphingomyelin (SM) species, and of Cer-metabolizing enzymes. Aged C57BL/6J mice were fed a control diet (group AGED) or diets with 1% RJ harvested from two different areas (groups AGED+RJ1:AGED+RJ2) for 16 weeks. Aged C57BL/6J mice with no dietary intervention (the control group: group C) represented the onset of aging. In group AGED, epidermal levels of hydration, Cer1/2/5/6/7, GC-A/B/C/D, SM1/2/3, and β-glucocerebrosidase (GCase) protein, an enzyme of GC hydrolysis for Cer generation, were lower than in group C; these levels, as well as those of Cer3/4 and acidic sphingomyelinase (aSMase) protein, an enzyme of SM hydrolysis for Cer generation, were higher in group AGED+RJ1 than in group AGED.
Despite increases in GC-B, SM1/2/3, and serine palmitoyltransferase2 protein, an enzyme of de novo Cer synthesis, in group AGED+RJ2 to levels higher than in group AGED, epidermal levels of hydration, Cer1-7, GC-A/C/D, GCase, and aSMase proteins were similar in these two groups.
Expression of GCase and aSMase mRNAs, and of Cer synthase3 and ceramidase proteins, enzymes of de novo Cer synthesis and degradation, did not differ among groups. Dietary RJ1 improved epidermal hydration by enhancing Cer metabolism with increased levels of all Cer, GC, and SM species, and of GCase and aSMase proteins.