Background: A human sebaceous gland culture system is very useful in studying the functions of the sebaceous glands at the cellular level. On the other hand, the success rates for culture systems and the experimental results from these human culture systems exhibit significant fluctuations, depending on the condition of the donor skin. Objective: The purpose of this study was to establish a stable culture system in order to investigate the functions of the sebaceous glands under uniform conditions. Methods: Sebaceous glands from the auricles of 5-week-old hamsters were isolated and seeded onto a 3T3 cell feeder layer. The proliferation, lipid production and response to androgens of these sebaceous-gland-derived cells (SGDC) were then examined. Results: The SGDC showed outgrowth, formed colonies and became confluent in a 35-mm dish culture after 14 days in primary culture. The amount of intracellular lipids significantly increased following the peak of the cell proliferation. The composition of the intracellular lipids from the hamster SGDC was identical to human SGDC, except that the hamster SGDC did not contain any squalene. Testosterone and 5α-dihydrotestosterone markedly stimulated the proliferation of these SGDC in a dose-dependent manner. Conclusion: This tissue culture system will be a useful tool for the study of sebaceous gland function at the cellular level.
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