Genes, growth factors and acanthosis nigricans

Br J Dermatol. 2002 Dec;147(6):1096-101. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.2002.05150.x.


Acanthosis nigricans (AN) occurs most commonly in association with hyperinsulinaemia and more rarely as a paraneoplastic syndrome. It is also a feature of several genetic disorders. Indirect evidence suggests a role for tyrosine kinase growth factor receptor signalling in the pathogenesis of AN. Defects in the insulin receptor gene causing insulin resistance and AN are well recognized, but recent data in several other syndromes of this association, including lipodystrophic disorders, have identified causative defects in other pathways. The mechanism of AN due to insulin resistance is most probably direct or indirect activation of the insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor by high levels of circulating insulin. However, more direct evidence for abnormal tyrosine kinase receptor signalling in AN has been provided by studies of craniosynostosis and skeletal dysplasia syndromes with AN, which have identified activating mutations in fibroblast growth factor receptors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acanthosis Nigricans / genetics*
  • Growth Substances / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / genetics
  • Syndrome


  • Growth Substances
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases