Adrenal function in women with idiopathic acne

G. P. Chrousos, G. L. Peck, E. G. Gross, G. B. Cutler, D. L. Loriaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The adrenal secretion of androgens was examined in 9 women (ages 19-39 yr) with postadolescent idiopathic acne and compared to age and sex-matched normal controls. Plasma dehydroepiandrosterone (DHA), dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHAS), androstenedione (Δ4-A), cortisol, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, 11-deoxycortisol, and testosterone were measured by radioimmunoassay in the basal state and during a 48 hr ACTH infusion. The mean plasma and time-integrated plasma levels of the 3 adrenal androgens in patients with acne were 15-25% higher than normal controls, but the groups were not significantly different (p>.05). The plasma testosterone values, on the other hand, were similar in both groups. In addition, cortisol, 11-deoxycortisol and 17-hydroxyprogesterone basal plasma values and responses to ACTH in patients with acne were similar to the normal control values. These findings suggest that adrenal androgen secretion is at most mildly elevated in patients with idiopathic acne and is unlikely to be the sole cause of acne since many patients without acne have similar hormone levels. Increases sensitivity of the sebaceous gland to androgens or increased local metabolism of androgen hormones in the skin to potent androgen metabolites may offer alternative mechanisms for the pathogenesis of this disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-471
Number of pages4
JournalUnknown Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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