Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Human sebaceous glands were isolated by shearing, and maintained for 7 days either on defined medium, on medium supplemented with 3 microM-testosterone or on medium supplemented with both 3 microM-testosterone and 1 microM-13-cis retinoic acid. Freshly isolated glands retained their in vivo morphology. On maintenance, the glands retained their freshly isolated rates of cell division, but the sebocytes showed increased keratinization and there was multilayering of the peripheral undifferentiated cells. However, glands maintained in the presence of 1 microM-13-cis retinoic acid showed very little luminal keratinization and only a small degree of multilayering. On autoradiography, freshly isolated glands retained their in vivo pattern of [methyl-3H]thymidine incorporation. Similar patterns were seen when glands were maintained for 7 days with or without testosterone. However, in the presence of both testosterone and 13-cis retinoic acid there was only slight graining. Following 7 days maintenance the rate of lipogenesis fell significantly. This was partially reversed by testosterone, but further inhibited by 13-cis retinoic acid. The patterns of lipids that are synthesised after a week's maintenance are very similar to those seen in freshly isolated glands, except that the squalene:cholesterol ratio is reversibly regulated by 3 microM-testosterone and 1 microM-retinoic acid. Protein synthesis was maintained at the same rates as for freshly isolated glands under all conditions of maintenance. Whereas DNA synthetic rates were maintained in the presence of testosterone, they were significantly inhibited by 13-cis retinoic acid. Glandular wet weights were retained under all conditions of maintenance, except that they were significantly reduced by 13-cis retinoic acid. This study shows that human sebocytes continue to divide on organ maintenance, but that they do not differentiate fully. However, this provides the first demonstration that 13-cis retinoic acid acts on human sebaceous glands directly, reducing the rate of cell division and the rate of lipogenesis, which shows that the maintained human sebaceous gland might provide a useful model for studying the effect of 13-cis retinoic acid on human sebocytes.


Journal article


J Cell Sci

Publication Date



95 ( Pt 1)


125 - 136


Adult, Aged, DNA, Humans, Lipids, Male, Middle Aged, Organ Culture Techniques, Organ Size, Protein Biosynthesis, Sebaceous Glands, Testosterone, Tretinoin