Androgen action on human skin – from basic research to clinical significance

  title={Androgen action on human skin – from basic research to clinical significance},
  author={Christos C. Zouboulis and Klaus Degitz},
  journal={Experimental Dermatology},
Abstract:  Androgens affect several functions of the human skin, such as sebaceous gland growth and differentiation, hair growth, epidermal barrier homeostasis and wound healing. Their effects are mediated by binding to nuclear androgen receptors. Androgen activation and deactivation are mainly intracellular events. They differ from cell type to cell type and between cells at different locations. The major circulating androgens, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate and androstenedione, are… 

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It is argued that the time has come to pay estrogen-mediated signaling the full attention it deserves in future endocrinological therapy of common hair growth disorders.

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Cutaneously expressed CYPs have significant effects on skin physiology and pathology trough regulation of its chemical milieu, and classical and non-classical vitamin D analogs show pro-differentiation, anti-proliferative and anticancer properties.

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This review is aimed at reorganizing the current knowledge on the role exerted by sex hormones on keratinocyte function in five different inflammatory skin diseases and providing a deeper insight into common cellular mechanisms and molecular effectors that might constitute putative targets to address for the development of specific therapeutic interventions.



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Dermal papilla cells from androgen-dependent follicles contained higher levels of specific, high-affinity, low-capacity androgen receptors than non-balding scalp cells, suggesting that further studies of such cells may elucidate the paradoxical effects of androgens on human hair follicles.

Testosterone at high concentrations interacts with the human androgen receptor similarly to dihydrotestosterone.

The results suggest that the weaker androgenic potency of testosterone compared to that of dihydrotestosterone resides in its weaker interaction with the androgen receptor, most clearly demonstrable as an increase in the dissociation rate of testosterone from the receptor.

Intracrinology and The Skin

DHEA, in experimental animals as well as in post-menopausal women, does not affect the endometrial epithelium, thus indicating the absence of DHEA-converting enzymes in this tissue, and avoiding the need for progestins when D HEA is used as hormone replacement therapy.

In vitro main pathways of steroid action in cultured hair follicle cells: vascular approach.

The role played by some steroids (estrogens, androgens, antiandrogens) in the modulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression by DPC is investigated and the involvement of this estrogenic pathway in the regulation of VEGF expression in vitro is confirmed.

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Steroid sulfatase in the human hair follicle concentrates in the dermal papilla.

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