The Multiple Roles of Urocanic Acid in Health and Disease

Prue H. Hart, Mary Norval

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Trans-urocanic acid (trans-UCA) is synthesized in the skin, liver, and brain. It is a major natural moisturizing factor in skin and maintains its acid pH. In skin, it isomerizes to cis-UCA following exposure to UVR. Both isomers fulfill multiple roles in health and disease. Cis-UCA has immunomodulatory properties linked with several cutaneous diseases such as skin cancer, atopic dermatitis, and urticaria and associates with systemic diseases including multiple sclerosis. The levels of UCA in the skin, brain, urine, and feces reflect some physiological processes and may be disease biomarkers. Both isomers of UCA have therapeutic potential for a range of disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-502
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number3
Early online date9 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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