77 Scopus citations


Melanocortins regulate pigmentation, adrenal hormone secretion, immune functions, lipid metabolism, and feeding behaviors in rodents. These peptides include adrenocorticotrophic hormone, melanocyte stimulating hormone, β-lipotrophin, and the endorphins. Lipid metabolism in sebaceous glands and preputial glands of rodents is regulated by α-melanocyte stimulating hormone, the major agonist for melanocortin receptors. Five melanocortin receptor subtypes have been identified that differ in their tissue localization and affinities for melanocortin ligands. Targeted disruption of the melanocortin 5 receptor in transgenic mice results in widespread dysfunction of exocrine glands, including a marked decrease in sebum production. A role for melanocortins in the modulation of human sebum production has not been established. The goal of this study is to determine which melanocortin receptors are expressed in human sebaceous glands. Messenger RNA was isolated from human sebaceous glands and the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction was performed using primers specific for each of the melanocortin receptor subtypes. Transcripts were detected for the melanocortin 5 receptor. A polyclonal chicken antihuman antibody to the melanocortin 5 receptor localized to sebaceous glands, eccrine glands, hair follicles, and epidermis in human skin, rat skin, cultured human sebocytes, and rat preputial cells. Presence of the melanocortin 5 receptor protein in human sebaceous glands and rat preputial glands was further verified by Western blotting. These data support further investigation of the role of melanocortins in the regulation of human sebum production and support the use of the rat preputial system as an experimental model in sebaceous gland physiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)614-619
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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