Inflammation and Dyslipidemia in Acne Vulgaris: Serum YKL40 Correlations

Acne vulgaris
Acne vulgaris
Serum YKL-40 level was significantly elevated in patients with acne, suggesting that it may have a role in acne pathogenesis as well as provide a link between the inflammation and dyslipidemia seen in these patients, a novel study finds.

Levels of chitinase‐3‐like protein 1 (YKL‐40) may have a role in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris and could provide a novel potential link between inflammation and associated dyslipidemia observed in patients with acne, according to study data published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

The study was designed to investigate whether YKL-40 might be implicated in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris and to assess the lipid profile of patients with acne in order to investigate the potential relationships between acne vulgaris and serum levels of YKL-40 as a potential indicator of inflammation and dyslipidemia.

Of the 80 participants in this study, 50 patients had been clinically diagnosed with acne vulgaris and 30 were age, sex, and BMI-matched healthy controls. Clinical data on all participants were obtained, and acne severity was assessed based on the Global acne grading system. The cohort of patients with acne discontinued doxycycline, isotretinoin, or other acne therapy for the month preceding study participation and control participants had not taken any medications and had no personal history or family history of severe acne. Lipid profiles and serum levels of YKL-40 were assessed in all participants.

Among the participants with acne vulgaris, 32% had mild acne lesions, 36% had moderate lesions, and 32% had severe lesions. Serum YKL-40 levels were significantly higher in patients with acne than in healthy controls (P <.001), as were serum levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P <.003, P <.015, and P <.034 respectively). For participants with acne, analysis revealed significant positive correlations between serum levels of YKL-40 and lipid profile parameters; a significant negative correlation between serum levels of YKL-40 and HDL-c Spearman’s correlation coefficient (ρ = −.297, P =.036) was also seen. Receiver operating curve analysis showed that YKL‐40 levels at a cutoff of ≥36.6 ng/mL were significant in detecting early acne vulgaris among participants with 90% sensitivity, 100% specificity, and 95% accuracy (P < .001).

Related Articles

Study investigators concluded that the “results suggest that the elevated serum YKL-40 level may indicate that acne patients have higher risk of dyslipidemia. It should be taken into consideration that those patients may require more potent treatment in order to lower the risk of systemic complications.” Moreover, they wrote, the findings suggest that additional studies may further understanding of the pathogenesis of, and novel treatments for, acne as they relate to plasma lipid levels regulation and inflammation inhibition.


Ebrahim A, Mustafa AI, El-Shimi OS, Fathy MA. Serum YKL40: A novel potential link between inflammation and dyslipidemia in acne vulgaris [published online September 6, 2019]. J Cosmet Dermatol. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13124