Tamia Harris Tryon, MD, PhD
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Department of Dermatology
2022 Research Scholar Award Recipient
Decoding the Impact of Skin Androgens in Acne Pathogenesis
Shifts in hormones are associated with acne severity, but it remains unclear how hormones cause acne on a molecular level. Further, we have a limited understanding of the regulation of androgen production at the skin surface. Moreover, the function of the skin microbiome in acne is also unclear. The commensal species Cutibactierum acnes (C. acnes) has been historically implicated in acne pathogenesis yet is present in high abundance in healthy skin. We have a limited understanding of C. acnes biology and the factors that may drive its opportunistic pathogenicity. In this proposal, we plan to test the hypothesis that androgens are shifted at the skin surface of patients with acne compared to controls. Though it has been shown that systemic hormones correlate with acne severity, no studies have determined how hormones change at the skin surface in acne. We will also use a device called the Sebumscale and a pH meter to determine if hormone levels at the skin surface correlate with sebum production and skin pH. Together these studies will increase our understanding of how skin ecology shifts in acne. In the second aim of our proposal, we will use molecular microbiology approaches to test the hypothesis that androgens impact the pathogenicity of C. acnes. Through these experiments, we aim to uncover new information regarding acne pathogenesis and identify new therapeutic targets for the treatment of acne.