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Horm Metab Res. 2007 Feb;39(2):141-8.

Inhibition of 5alpha-reductase activity in SZ95 sebocytes and HaCaT keratinocytes in vitro.

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  • 1Division of Dermatology and Cutaneous Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing MI, USA.


Inhibition of 5alpha-reductase type 1 has been considered to be a promising target for treatment of androgen-dependent skin disorders, however, currently published clinical results on acne treatment are rather disappointing. In this study, the influence of selective inhibitors of 5alpha-reductase on testosterone metabolism within SZ95 sebocytes and HaCaT keratinocytes IN VITRO was investigated. In both cell types, the isotype 1 inhibitor MK386 completely inhibited the conversion of testosterone to 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone in concentrations higher than 10 (-9) M. Inhibitors of the isotype 2 such as finasteride, dihydrofinasteride, and turosteride, were >100-fold less active, while, as expected, androgen receptor inhibitors did not affect the 5alpha-reductase activity. MK386, but not finasteride, reduced testosterone-stimulated proliferation and slightly reduced the testosterone-induced increase in the amount of SZ95 sebocyte proteins. The androgen receptor inhibitor cyproterone acetate exhibited no effect on testosterone-induced proliferation, but inhibited the 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone-induced sebocyte proliferation. Our experimental findings and the existing clinical results indicate that the inhibition of 5alpha-reductase activity alone may be insufficient to reduce overall sebocyte activity and improve acne lesions.

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