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Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2006 Jun 10;150(23):1281-5.

[Acne vulgaris: endocrine aspects].

[Article in Dutch]

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Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum, afd. Endocrinologie, Postbus 9600, 2300 RC Leiden.


Androgens play an important part in the development of acne vulgaris. Androgen levels in patients with acne are higher than those in controls and people with the androgen insensitivity syndrome do not develop acne. Local factors other than androgen plasma levels, also play a part in the development of acne. The skin contains enzymes that convert precursor hormones to the more potent androgens such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. Androgen synthesis can therefore be regulated locally. The effects of androgens on the skin are the result of circulating androgens and enzyme activity in local tissues and androgen receptors. Acne is a clinical manifestation of some endocrine diseases. The polycystic ovary syndrome has the highest prevalence. In women with acne that persists after puberty, in 10-200% of cases polycystic ovary syndrome is later diagnosed. The mechanism of hormonal anti-acne therapy may work by blocking the androgen-production (oestrogens) or by blocking the androgen receptor (cyproterone, spironolactone).

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