Is There a Preventive Role for Vernix Caseosa? An Invitro Study

Anshu Kumar Jha, Shrikala Baliga, Hn Harsha Kumar, Aseem Rangnekar, B Shantharam Baliga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Vernix caseosa is a naturally occurring substance covering the skin of the newborn babies. Chemical composition of Vernix caseosa has been studied. But the antibacterial properties have not been explored phenotypically. There has been only a few studies related to the properties of Vernix caseosa (VC) and most of them focused on deciphering the chemical nature of VC. These studies found that VC has enzymes such as lysozyme, cathelicidin, lactoferrin, defencins, etc, but no study has proved their presence phenotypically.

AIM: To know the anti-bacterial and mechanical barrier properties of VC.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study done at Government Lady Goshen Hospital, Mangalore, India. Subjects- 63 healthy infants born by LSCS (Lower Segment Caesaren Section) (Confidence interval- 95%, Power- 90%). In lab, sterility of Vernix caseosa was determined. Lawn culture of S.aureus and E.coli on nutrient agar was done and wells were made in it. Vernix broth was prepared using Tween 80 and was put into the well. It was incubated overnight at 37°C and observed for area of Decreased Bacterial Growth (DBG) around the well. Filter papers impregnated with VC were used for testing for mechanical barrier properties.

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Data was entered in SPSS 12.0 version and analysed. The zone of inhibition (in mm) in case of bacterial growth was expressed as mean with standard deviation. Student's independent t-test was used to compare the means across the groups (males and females).

RESULTS: There was no significant difference in the anti-bacterial property based on gender. DBG {mean (SD)} for E.coli and S.aureus was 18.06 mm (1.56) and 13.34 mm (1.94) respectively (p-value <0.000). Result for mechanical barrier was inconclusive due to limitations explained in the article.

CONCLUSION: Vernix caseosa has antibacterial properties. But further studies are needed to explore the mechanical barrier properties against bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)SC13-6
JournalJournal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 11-2015


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