Acne as an altered dermato-endocrine response problem

Exp Dermatol. 2020 Sep;29(9):833-839. doi: 10.1111/exd.14168. Epub 2020 Sep 20.


Acne is the most common skin disease in adolescent Westernized populations. Several data support the involvement of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signalling in the interplay between androgens, insulin, insulin-like growth factor (IGF1) and high-glycaemic index diet in acne. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) is involved in both differentiation and anti-inflammatory response. Low differentiated sebocytes showed decreased expression of PPARγ and increased level of insulin and IGF-1 receptors, resulting in the production of acne-like sebum and inflammatory mediators. In this viewpoint, we discuss how in acne the dysregulation of proliferation and differentiation processes in sebocytes and keratinocytes may be associated with altered response to androgens and other hormones, such as insulin or IGF-1. Moreover, we propose PPARγ modulation as an innovative therapeutic approach to normalize sebocyte differentiation process, interfering with the different mechanisms involved in altered pilosebaceous unit.

Keywords: PPARγ; acne; differentiation; mTOR pathway.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / etiology*
  • Acne Vulgaris / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Hormones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • PPAR gamma / metabolism


  • Hormones
  • PPAR gamma
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I