Background: Corchorus olitorius leaf contains a significant amount of mucilaginous polysaccharide. It has been generally accepted that the polysaccharides derived from botanical extracts increase skin hydration. Since skin hydration improves skin barrier function, it is one of the most effective treatments for atopic dermatitis (AD). However, other components of botanical extracts other than polysaccharides may influence skin hydration and transepidermal water loss (TEWL). The aim of this study was to evaluate the hydration efficacy and skin barrier protection afforded to the skin after exposure to Corchorus olitorius extract without high-molecular-weight compounds (COEW), such as polysaccharides. Methods: NC/Nga mice possess disrupted skin barrier function, and were used as a model for AD. A stable base cream was supplemented with 0.2% COEW and applied to the dorsal skin of these mice. Skin hydration and TEWL were analyzed after a 14-d period of daily application. AD scores and plasma immunoglobulin E (IgE) concentrations were also investigated. Results: Compared to control mice, mice treated with the COEW cream showed significantly increased skin hydration and reduced TEWL. Plasma IgE concentrations were not affected by the COEW cream, whereas an increase in AD score in NC/Nga mice was prevented because of the application of the COEW cream. Conclusions: COEW has the ability to maintain hydration of the skin, and to prevent the disruption of skin barrier function, which leads to the aggravation of AD. COEW may be used as an adjunct treatment for AD.
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