The Journal of investigative dermatology

Androgens Attenuate Vitamin D Production Induced by UVB Irradiation of the Skin of Male Mice by an Enzymatic Mechanism.

PMID 26214382


Cutaneous exposure to UVB irradiation is an important source of vitamin D. Here, we examined sex-specific differences in cutaneous vitamin D production in mice. Both male and female mice on a vitamin D-deficient diet manifested vitamin D deficiency, with mineral abnormalities, secondary hyperparathyroidism, and osteomalacia. UVB irradiation significantly increased vitamin D levels in the skin of female mice and normalized serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 levels, as well as mineral and skeletal abnormalities. However, in male mice, the vitamin D response to UVB was attenuated and mineral and skeletal abnormalities were not normalized. The vitamin D precursor, 7-dehydrocholesterol (7DHC), was significantly lower in the skin of male than female mice. This reduction was due to local androgen action in the skin as demonstrated by castration studies and skin-specific androgen receptor deletion in male mice, both of which reversed the male phenotype. Local androgen regulation in the skin of the CYP11A1 gene, which encodes a crucial enzyme that metabolizes cholesterol, 7DHC, and vitamin D, appeared to contribute to the gender differences in UVB-induced vitamin D production and to its reversal of vitamin D deficiency. Sex-specific, enzymatically regulated differences in cutaneous production of vitamin D may therefore be of importance to ensure vitamin D sufficiency.

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Cholecalciferol (D3), analytical standard