A practical guide for the study of human and murine sebaceous glands in situ

Eleanor Hinde, Iain S. Haslam, Marlon R. Schneider, Ewan A. Langan, Jennifer E. Kloepper, Carolin Schramm, Christos C. Zouboulis, Ralf Paus*

*Corresponding author for this work
25 Citations (Scopus)


The skin of most mammals is characterised by the presence of sebaceous glands (SGs), whose predominant constituent cell population is sebocytes, that is, lipid-producing epithelial cells, which develop from the hair follicle. Besides holocrine sebum production (which contributes 90% of skin surface lipids), multiple additional SG functions have emerged. These range from antimicrobial peptide production and immunomodulation, via lipid and hormone synthesis/metabolism, to the provision of an epithelial progenitor cell reservoir. Therefore, in addition to its involvement in common skin diseases (e.g. acne vulgaris), the unfolding diversity of SG functions, both in skin health and disease, has raised interest in this integral component of the pilosebaceous unit. This practical guide provides an introduction to SG biology and to relevant SG histochemical and immunohistochemical techniques, with emphasis placed on in situ evaluation methods that can be easily employed. We propose a range of simple, established markers, which are particularly instructive when addressing specific SG research questions in the two most commonly investigated species in SG research, humans and mice. To facilitate the development of reproducible analysis techniques for the in situ evaluation of SGs, this methods review concludes by suggesting quantitative (immuno-)histomorphometric methods for standardised SG evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)631-637
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 01.10.2013


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