Get access

Sebaceous glands in acne patients express high levels of neutral endopeptidase


Masahiko Toyoda, Department of Dermatology, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, 2630 Sugitani, Toyama 930–0194, Japan
Tel.:+81 76 434 7305
Fax: +81 76 434 5028


Abstract: Acne is a complex, chronic and common skin disorder of pilosebaceous units. Although it is known that exacerbation of acne results from emotional stress, the nature of the association between stress and acne remains unclear. This is due in part to the lack of substantial evidence regarding the participation of cutaneous neurogenic factors in the pathogenesis of acne. To examine the possible involvement of neurogenic factors in the etiology of acne, we used immunohistochemistry to compare the distribution of SP-containing nerve fibers around sebaceous glands and the expression of neutral endopeptidase in sebaceous acini of the facial skin of acne patients and of healthy subjects. More numerous substance P immunoreactive nerve fibers in close apposition to the sebaceous glands and an increase in expression of neutral endopeptidase in sebaceous acini were observed in acne patients compared with the controls. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed that the subcellular localization of neutral endopeptidase was restricted to the Golgi apparatus and the endoplasmic reticulum within sebaceous germinative cells. In addition, in vitro experiments using an organ culture system demonstrated that substance P induced expression of neutral endopeptidase in sebaceous glands in a dose dependent manner. This study reveals that substance P and its degrading enzymes are involved in the pathogenesis of acne, which in turn might partially explain the pathologic significance of neurogenic and psychogenic aspects in the disease process.