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Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2012;5:33-7. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S29537. Epub 2012 Feb 27.

Anti-inflammatory effects of a topical preparation containing nicotinamide, retinol, and 7-dehydrocholesterol in patients with acne: a gene expression study.

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Department of Health Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.



Acne vulgaris is a skin disorder of the sebaceous follicles, involving hyperkeratinization and perifollicular inflammation. Aberrant extracellular matrix remodeling due to matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) has been associated with the presence of acne conditions. Given the complex pathophysiology of acne, novel topical therapies should include combination products that target multiple pathogenetic mechanisms. In this pilot study we investigated the changes in gene expression of extracellular MMPs, the tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases, and proinflammatory molecules after 45 days of topical application of a combination product containing nicotinamide, retinol, and 7-dehydrocholesterol in 16 patients with inflammatory acne on their back.


Skin biopsies were obtained before and after treatment for gene expression studies.


Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction revealed a significant downregulation of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-9, MMP-14, interleukin-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and macrophage migration inhibitory factor. In contrast, the tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases and transforming growth factor-β1 were significantly upregulated. The gene expression findings correlated well with the clinical treatment response.


The combination of nicotinamide, retinol, and 7-dehydrocholesterol appears to be effective for acne treatment from both clinical and molecular standpoints.


acne; gene expression; inflammation; matrix metalloproteinases; topical treatment

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