Content » Vol 66, Issue 3

Pituitary function and DHEA-S in male acne and DHEA-S, prolactin and cortisol before and after oral contraceptive treatment in female acne

Palatsi R, Reinilä M, Kivinén S.
DOI: 10.2340/0001555566225230


Pituitary function (TRH-LHRH stimulation test) was investigated in male acne patients and serum levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S), sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and other biochemical parameters were investigated in male acne patients and in female acne patients before and after treatment with an oral contraceptive. The TRH-LHRH stimulation test was performed with 15 male patients suffering from severe cystic acne and 7 healthy volunteers. Basal and stimulated prolactin, LH and FSH levels were statistically similar in the patients and control groups. However, the stimulated LH levels of the patients were 60% higher than those in controls. SHBG levels were significantly) higher in the patient group compared to those in the control group. Thirty-three female acne patients were randomly divided into two groups and treated for six months with an oral contraceptive containing 0.030 mg ethinylestradiol (EE) plus 0.150 mg levonorgestrel or 0.150 mg levonorgestrel. After six months´ treatment a 30% decrease in DHEA-S levels were observed in the desogestrel/EE group and a 15% decrease in the levonorgestrel/EE group; the difference was not statistically significant. At the same time serum total cortisol increased by 75-100% and free testosterone fell by 30-40% in both groups, whereas SHBG elevated 250% in the desogestrel/EE group and 30% in the levonorgestrel/EE group. Acne improved significantly in both groups, desogestrel/EE showing greater improvement. A decrease in SHBG and increase in DHEA-S levels appear to be the most common hormonal changes in acne. Oral contraceptive treatment induces an increase in SHBG and decrease in DHEA-S and also improves acne.


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