Author(s): Lshikawa K, Okamoto M, Aoyagi S
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Abstract A hair cuticle, which consists of flat overlapping scales that surround the hair fiber, protects inner tissues against external stimuli. The outermost surface of the cuticle is covered with a thin membrane containing proteins and lipids called the epicuticle. In a previous study, the authors conducted a depth profile analysis of a hair cuticle's amino acid composition to characterize its multilayer structure. Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry with a bismuth primary ion source was used in combination with the C60 sputtering technique for the analysis. It was confirmed that the lipids and cysteine-rich layer exist on the outermost cuticle surface, which is considered to be the epicuticle, though the detailed structure of the epicuticle has not been clarified. In this study, depth profile analysis of the cuticle surface was conducted using the argon gas cluster ion beam (Ar-GCIB) sputtering technique, in order to characterize the structure of the epicuticle. The shallow depth profile of the cuticle surface was investigated using an Ar-GCIB impact energy of 5 keV. Compared to the other amino acid peaks rich in the epicuticle, the decay of 18-methyleicosanic acid (18-MEA) thiolate peak was the fastest. This result suggests that the outermost surface of the hair is rich in 18-MEA. In conclusion, our results indicate that the outermost surfaces of cuticles have a multilayer (lipid and protein layers), which is consistent with the previously proposed structure.
This article was published in Biointerphases
and referenced in Journal of Analytical & Bioanalytical Techniques