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Open Access Research article

Plasma proteins in a standardised skin mini-erosion (I): permeability changes as a function of time

Christer Svedman1*, Bing B Yu2, Terence J Ryan3 and Henry Svensson4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Malmö University Hospital, University of Lund, Lund, Sweden

2 Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

3 Department of Dermatology, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK

4 Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Malmö University Hospital, University of Lund, Lund, Sweden

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BMC Dermatology 2002, 2:3  doi:10.1186/1471-5945-2-3

Published: 11 February 2002



A standardised technique using a suction-induced mini-erosion that allows serial sampling of dermal interstitial fluid (IF) for 5 to 6 days has been described. In the present study, we studied permeability changes as a function of time.


We examined IF concentrations of total protein concentration and the concentration of insulin (6.6 kDa), prealbumin (55 kDa), albumin (66 kDa), transferrin (80 kDa), IgG (150 kDa) and alpha-2-macroglobulin (720 kDa) as a function of time, using an extraction pressure of 200 mmHg below atmospheric.


At 0 h after forming the erosion, mean total IF protein content (relative to plasma) was 26 ± 13% (SD). For the individual proteins, the relative mean concentrations were 65 ± 36% for insulin, 48 ± 12% for albumin, 30 ± 19% for transferrin, 31 ± 15%for IgG and 19.5 ± 10% for alpha-2-macroglobulin. At 24 h, the total IF protein content was higher than at 0 h (56 ± 26% vs 26 ± 13%; p < 0.05, diff: 115%), as were some of the individual protein concentrations: prealbumin (50 ± 24 vs 25 ± 13%; p < 0.05), albumin (68 ± 21 vs 48 ± 12%; p < 0.05) and IgG (55 ± 30 vs 31 ± 15%; p = 0.05). ln the interval 24 h to 96 h the concentrations were relatively unchanged.


The results indicate that fluid sampled at 0 h after forming the erosion represents dermal IF before the full onset of inflammation. From 24 h onward, the sampled fluid reflects a steady state of increased permeability induced by inflammation. This technique is promising as a tool for clinically sampling substances that are freely distributed in the body and as a model for studying inflammation and vascular permeability.