Abnormal keratinization of hair follicles appears to be intimately associated with acne vulgaris. Whether steroid metabolism in follicular wall keratinocytes of acne-prone skin plays a role in the development and maintenance of acne vulgaris is unknown at this time. The enzymatic hydrolysis of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate to dehydroepiandrosterone and of estrone sulfate to estrone in cultured epidermal keratinocytes has been demonstrated. Thus, we sought to establish whether steroid sulfatase activity in freshly obtained epidermal tissue (greater than 90% keratinocytes) from acne-prone skin in patients with acne vulgaris was altered when compared with that in epidermal tissue from non-acne-prone skin in the same individuals. We found that there were no differences in the rates of enzymatic hydrolysis of steroid sulfates in epidermis of acne-prone and non-acne-prone skin; however, the rate of estrone sulfate hydrolysis was two to eight times greater than that of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate in all of the tissues evaluated in this study.
Milewich L, Sontheimer RD, Herndon JH Jr