Cellular and Molecular Biology




Localization of sex steroid receptors in human skin

G. Pelletier and L. Ren

Oncology and Molecular Endocrinology Research Center, Centre de recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université Laval (CRCHUL), Québec, Québec, Canada

Offprint requests to: Dr. Georges Pelletier, Oncology and Molecular Endocrinology Research Center, Le Centre Hospitalier de l'Université Laval (CHUL), 2705, Laurier Boulevard Quebec, G1V 4G2, Canada. Fax: (418) 654-2761. e-mail: georges.pelletier@crchul.ulaval.ca


Summary. Sex steroid hormones are involved in regulation of skin development and functions as well as in some skin pathological events. To determine the sites of action of estrogens, androgens and progestins, studies have been performed during the recent years to accurately localize receptors for each steroid hormone in human skin. Androgen receptors (AR) have been localized in most keratinocytes in epidermis. In the dermis, AR was detected in about 10% of fibroblasts. In sebaceous glands, AR was observed in both basal cells and sebocytes. In hair follicles, AR expression was restricted to dermal papillar cells. In eccrine sweat glands, only few secretory cells were observed to express AR. Estrogen receptor (ER) a was poorly expressing, being restricted to sebocytes. In contrast, ERß was found to be highly expressed in the epidermis, sebaceous glands (basal cells and sebocytes) and eccrine sweat glands. In the hair follicle, ERß is widely expressed with strong nuclear staining in dermal papilla cells, inner sheath cells, matrix cells and outer sheath cells including the buldge region. Progesterone receptors (PR) staining was found in nuclei of some keratinocytes and in nuclei of basal cells and sebocytes in sebaceous glands. PR nuclear staining was also observed in dermal papilla cells of hair follicles and in eccrine sweat glands. This information on the differential localization of sex steroid receptors in human skin should be of great help for future investigation on the specific role of each steroid on skin and its appendages. Histol. Histopathol. 19, 629-636 (2004)

Key words: Human skin, Sex steroid receptors Epidermis, Hair follicles, Sebaceous glands

DOI: 10.14670/HH-19.629