Sex steroids have been known to play important roles in the homeostasis of human skin, but little is known about their biosyntheses in that tissue. In this study, we characterized the correlation between the concentrations of sex steroids and the expression levels of the factors involved in their synthesis or metabolism in human skin. The expression levels of aromatase (ARO) and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) were positively correlated with estrogens and testosterone concentrations, respectively. We demonstrated that estrogen synthesis was markedly decreased by ARO inhibitor and that skins with higher ARO expression had thicker elastic fibers than those with lower ARO expression. While pregnenolone and testosterone concentrations were increased by cholesterol administration to epidermal keratinocytes. Scalp skin with higher StAR expression was cleared to have significantly fewer hair follicles than that with lower expression. Our results suggest that the status of ARO and StAR contribute to estrogen synthesis in situ, especially for the regulation of elastic fiber formation, and to testosterone synthesis, which may be associated with hair growth, respectively.
- Sex steroid hormones
- Steroidogenic acute regulatory protein