We previously reported elevated oxidative stress-related mechanical vulnerabilities of the skin as sparse distributions of hyperechoic areas. Although this helped establish a personalized skin care system to prevent skin disorders related to mechanical stress, obesity-related skin vulnerability involves individual differences. Here, we hypothesized that individual differences are caused by polymorphisms of GT repetitive sequences in the heme oxygenase1 (HMOX1) promoter region, which encodes an antioxidant enzyme. This cross-sectional study enrolled healthy male volunteers in a walking classroom aimed at weight control. Subjects with a body mass index <25 kg/m2 were classified as non-obese and those with body mass index 25 kg/m2 were classified as obese. Subject skin was categorized into sparse dermis or normal groups according to the distribution of hyperechoic areas by high-resolution skin ultrasonography (20 MHz). Genomic DNA and mRNA extracted from three body hairs with attached follicle cells were used to analyze GT repetitive sequences of the HMOX1 promoter, HMOX1 mRNA expression levels, and oxidative stress levels (8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine). Classifications of GT repetitive sequence of HMOX1 promoter were Short (<27 times) and Long (27 times). Higher numbers of subjects with sparse dermis were in the obese group compared with the non-obese group. In obese subjects, the number of subjects that had the Long allele of the HMOX1 promoter with sparse dermis was significantly higher compared with the normal group, whereas no association was observed between the polymorphism and ultrasonographic features in non-obese subjects. Thus, HMOX1 polymorphisms detected a risk of low collagen density in Japanese obese male subjects.
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