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Androgens modulate keratinocyte differentiation indirectly through enhancing growth factor production from dermal fibroblasts

Chanat Kumtornrut, Takeshi Yamauchi, Saaya Koike, Setsuya Aiba, Kenshi Yamasaki
Journal of Dermatological Science 2019, 93 (3): 150-158

BACKGROUND: The main pathogenesis of acne vulgaris is increase in sebum production and abnormal keratinization of the hair infundibulum. The androgens are involved in acne pathogenesis by modulating sebaceous glands to enhance sebum production. However, the molecular mechanisms of abnormal keratinization of the hair infundibulum are not fully elucidated.

OBJECTIVE: We hypothesized that the androgens affect the dermal fibroblasts, another androgen receptor-positive cells in the skin, resulting in abnormal keratinization through keratinocyte-fibroblast interaction.

METHODS: We investigated effects of androgens and estrogens on growth factors expressions by RT-PCR and western blot analysis in human fibroblast (hFB), human keratinocyte (hKC), and fibroblast-keratinocyte co-culture. In vivo, we examined the growth factor expression in acne lesions compared to normal hair follicles by laser-assisted confocal microscope.

RESULTS: In vitro, androgens but not estrogens significantly increased amphiregulin (AREG), epiregulin (EREG), fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 10, and insulin-like growth factor binding protein (IGFBP) 5 mRNA and protein expressions in human fibroblasts but not in keratinocytes. In vivo, AREG, EREG, FGF10, and IGFBP5 were more abundant in acne lesion compared to normal facial skin. FGF10 suppressed cytokeratin 1 and cytokeratin 10 expression in hKC, which was along with the decreased ratio of cytokeratin 10 against cytokeratin 14 in acne lesions compared to normal facial skin. Also, DHT suppressed cytokeratin 1 and cytokeratin 10, in fibroblast-keratinocyte co-culture similarly to the effect of FGF10 to hKC.

CONCLUSION: These observations suggested that androgens enhance growth factors production from dermal fibroblasts, and growth factors from fibroblasts alter keratinocyte differentiation in acne lesion.


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