Estrogen Receptor Expression in Melasma: Results From Facial Skin of Affected Patients

May 2008 | Volume 7 | Issue 5 | Original Article | 463 | Copyright © May 2008

Robert Lieberman MD, Lawrence Moy MD

Background and Objective: Melasma is a commonly acquired hypermelanosis of the skin due to various etiological factors, including pregnancy and oral contraceptives. Estrogen receptor expression in affected skin has not yet been investigated. The purpose of this study was to compare estrogen receptor expression in hyperpigmented and normal facial skin of patients with melasma.

Methods: Biopsies of 3 mm were taken from affected and unaffected forehead skin of 2 female patients with melasma. Frozen sections of the tissues were obtained and mouse monoclonal antibody against human estrogen receptors was tested at various dilutions to determine the optimum concentrations required for reproducible immunostaining with minimal background staining. Fluorescence was evaluated and compared qualitatively.

Results: The immunohistochemical staining of tissue from both patients reflected a qualitative increase in estrogen receptor expression in melasma-affected skin compared to unaffected skin.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates the increased expression of estrogen receptors in melasma-affected skin and may establish the basis for exploring topical anti-estrogen therapies in melasma.