Acne is the bane of many teens, and even some adults. Now, researchers say they might have hit on a new approach to easing the condition. The key lies in a naturally produced skin oil called sebum, explained a research team led by William Esler, a researcher with drug giant Pfizer in Cambridge, Mass.
The Temperature regulation
Sebum is important to the skin’s health; so because it helps regulate temperature and repel microbes, the team said. But an excess of sebum production has also long thought to be a contributor to acne. Too much sebum can get trapped in glands; which cause it to swell and cause a bump under the skin; so explain Dr. Raman Madan, a dermatologist with Northwell Health’s Huntington Hospital in Huntington, N.Y.
So, it stands to reason that identifying “a target to decrease sebum production; which will be a novel approach to treating acne,” said Madan, who wasn’t involve in the new study. The research involve a microscopic examination of the skin of 22 healthy volunteers. Esler’s team discover that skin sebum production relies on a specific molecular mechanism know as the de novo lipogenesis (DNL) pathway.
Most sebum was found to be produce by cells called sebocytes; which secrete the oil base on the ebb and flow of the DNL pathway, the researchers explaine. But nine people with acne show one major difference: Compare to people with normal skin, they had a 20% higher rate of sebum production and a relate rise in fluctuations of the DNL pathway, the findings show.
Enzyme involve the pathway
Going a step further, Esler’s group design a compound that target an enzyme involve in the pathway. In healthy volunteers, application of the treatment cut sebum production by nearly half, according to the report publish in the May 15 issue of Science Translational Medicine. Of course, these experiments are early and it remains to be seen if such a compound might curb sebum and acne in a larger, more rigorous trial.
In the meantime, Madan said that the approach has potential. But he cautioned that “this may be a treatment for acne, but not a cure, because the cause of acne is more than just sebum production. It has potential to be an addition to current treatments. Dr. Michele Green is a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She agreed that the findings “may offer promise to patients suffering with acne vulgaris.