With the use of skin swabs of 400 different body sites of two healthy adult volunteers, researchers at the University of California, San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences constructed the first-ever 3-D skin maps. These 3D skin maps uncover the molecular topography of the skin surface, allowing future studies of the interrelationship between the human skin microbiota, chemical environment and the external environment.
By using advanced techniques such as ultra-performance liquid chromatography/quadrupole time-of-flight (UPLC-QTOF), matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization TOF (MALDI-TOF) and 16S rRNA amplicon sequences, 3-D maps were created while 3-D models were produced using MATLAB. The resulting 3-D human skin maps demonstrate the diverse distribution of molecules and microbial population as well as the impacts of external environmental exposures such as personal hygiene products, consumption of food and the clothing we wear.
The successful 3-D mapping of the human skin therefore allows researchers to further probe into the skin’s role in various diseases that affect human health.