Plasma dermcidin (DCD) levels were significantly lower in patients with acne vulgaris compared with controls, according to study data published in Dermatologic Therapy. Based on these results, investigators hypothesize that DCD may be involved in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris.

Investigators recruited 30 patients with acne vulgaris from two outpatient medical clinics in Turkey. Patient acne severity was graded using the Pillsbury scoring method. Patients were given isotretinoin treatment for 6 months at dosages of 0.5 to 0.7 mg/kg/day until a cumulative dose of 120 mg/kg was attained. Plasma DCD levels were assessed pretreatment and after six months of treatment. A control group of 30 participants without acne vulgaris or any inflammatory dermatosis was also assessed at the same time points for plasma DCD levels.

The majority of the cohort were women, comprising 70% of the patient group and 76.6% of the control group. The mean (standard deviation [SD]) ages were 20.77 (3.02) and 23.5 (2.46) years in the patient and control groups, respectively (P <.001). According to the Pillsbury scale, 20 patients (80%) had grade 3 acne vulgaris, 3 (10%) had grade 2, and 3 (10%) had grade 4. The mean (SD) pretreatment global acne grading system score decreased from 20.86 (4.43) to 5.17 (1.91) over the treatment course (P <.001). DCD levels were significantly higher in the control group compared with pretreatment patients (39.53 [20.2] vs 28.60 [20.12]; P =.004). In patients receiving isotretinoin treatment, posttreatment DCD levels were significantly elevated compared with baseline levels (28.60 [20.12] vs 35.07 [24.02]; P =.012). No significant difference in DCD levels was observed between patients with different areas of involvement. A negative correlation was found between pretreatment plasma DCD levels and pretreatment global acne grading system scores (P =.013), although this association did not persist after treatment.

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Based on these data, the researchers believe that dermcidin demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties and may play an important role in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris. The efficacy of isotretinoin treatment may be due, in part, to its impact on DCD levels. The mechanisms through which DCD affects acne development warrant further study.

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Reference

Alatas ET, Kara Polat A, Kalaycı M, Dogan G, Akın Belli A. Plasma dermcidin levels in acne patients and the effect of isotretinoin treatment on dermcidin levels [published online July 31, 2019]. Dermatol Ther. doi:10.1111/dth.13044