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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Steroid inhibitors of androgen-potentiated actions on skin.

Antiandrogens, such as cyproterone acetate, and oestrogens both inhibit sebaceous secretion in rats and have a potentiality for the treatment of hirsutism and acne in the human female. However, they act at different points. In castrated rats treated with testosterone, 3 micrograms/day oestradiol produced a greater decrease in sebum secretion than a dose of cyproterone acetate over 1000 times larger; moreover the antiandrogen reduced the incidence of sebaceous mitoses whereas the oestradiol did not. In hirsute women, oral administration of 100 mg of cyproterone acetate daily caused a 40% reduction in sebum secretion within 10 days; a further 20% was subsequently produced by combined therapy with cyproterone acetate and ethinyloestradiol. Significant decreases in the diameter and rate of growth of thigh hairs were not established until around the fourth monthly cycle of treatment. The actions were believed to be mainly peripheral, though contributory factors could also have been the small but significant reductions in plasma androgens produced by the antiandrogen, and the marked rise in sex hormone binding globulin produced by the oestrogen. That it is theoretically possible for cyproterone acetate or oestradiol to act locally follows from an unequivocal demonstration that either compound produced a local depression of sebum secretion when applied topically to rats.[1]


  1. Steroid inhibitors of androgen-potentiated actions on skin. Ebling, F.J., Randall, V.A. J. Steroid Biochem. (1983) [Pubmed]
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