Hyaluronic acid (HA) is the major glycosaminoglycan in the extracellular matrix and has been implicated in several functions in skin cells. However, evidence is lacking regarding the HA signaling in sebaceous glands, and its potential role needs to be clarified. We investigated the role of HA in lipid production in sebaceous glands in an experimental study of human sebocytes followed by a clinical study. We first examined the effects of HA on sebaceous glands in hamsters and intradermal injection of HA into hamster auricles decreased both the size of sebaceous glands and the level of lipid production. We demonstrated that human skin sebaceous glands in vivo and sebocytes in vitro express CD44 (HA binding receptor) and that HA downregulates lipid synthesis in a dose-dependent manner. To evaluate the clinical relevance of HA in human skin, 20 oily participants were included in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, split-face study, and the HA-treated side showed a significant decrease in sebum production. The results of this study indicate that HA plays a functional role in human sebaceous gland biology and HA signaling is an effective candidate in the management of disorders in which sebum production is increased.
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