Conflicts of interest None declared.
Involvement of the corticotropin-releasing hormone system in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris
Article first published online: 10 DEC 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2008 British Association of Dermatologists
British Journal of Dermatology
Volume 160, Issue 2, pages 345–352, February 2009
How to Cite
Ganceviciene, R., Graziene, V., Fimmel, S. and Zouboulis, C.C. (2009), Involvement of the corticotropin-releasing hormone system in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris. British Journal of Dermatology, 160: 345–352. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2008.08959.x
- Issue published online: 16 JAN 2009
- Article first published online: 10 DEC 2008
- Accepted for publication 2 September 2008
- corticotropin-releasing hormone;
- corticotropin-releasing hormone binding protein;
- corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor
Background The sebaceous gland exhibits an independent peripheral endocrine function and expresses receptors for neuropeptides. Previous reports have confirmed the presence of a complete corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) system in human sebocytes in vitro. The capability of hypothalamic CRH to induce lipid synthesis, induce steroidogenesis and interact with testosterone and growth hormone implicates a possibility of its involvement in the clinical development of acne.
Objectives The purpose of the study was to detect expression changes of CRH/CRH binding protein (CRHBP)/CRH receptors (CRHRs) in acne-involved skin, especially in the sebaceous glands.
Methods Expression of CRH/CRHBP/CRHRs was analysed by immunohistochemistry in biopsies from facial skin of 33 patients with acne, noninvolved thigh skin of the same patients and normal skin of eight age-matched healthy volunteers.
Results Very strong positive reaction for CRH was observed in acne-involved skin in all types of sebaceous gland cells, irrespective of their differentiation stage, whereas in noninvolved and normal skin sebaceous glands exhibited a weaker CRH staining depending upon the differentiation stage of sebocytes. The strongest reaction for CRHBP in acne-involved sebaceous glands was in differentiating sebocytes. CRHR-1 and CRHR-2 exhibited the strongest expression in sweat glands and sebaceous glands, respectively.
Conclusions Expression of the complete CRH system is abundant in acne-involved skin, especially in the sebaceous glands, possibly activating pathways which affect immune and inflammatory processes leading to the development and stress-induced exacerbation of acne.