Neuropeptides in the pathogenesis of obesity-associated benign acanthosis nigricans

J. E. Bernstein, J. Rothstein, K. Soltani, L. E. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The association of acanthosis nigricans with pituitary tumors and insulin-resistant diabetes suggests that a pituitary peptide may promote papillomatosis and acanthosis characteristic of acanthosis nigricans. Although such a peptide has not been isolated, it may derive by sequential cleavage from the 31,000-dalton precursor peptide to ACTH and β-lipotropin (β-LPH). In order to evaluate the role of pituitary peptides in the pathogenesis of acanthosis nigricans, we compared plasma levels of β-endorphin (β-EP) and ACTH in plasma of 8 fasting patients with obesity-associated benign acanthosis nigricans and 7 fasting normal controls utilizing sensitive radioimmunoassay procedures. Mean plasma β-EP levels for the acanthosis nigricans and control subjects were not significantly different (90 pg/ml vs. 140 pg/ml), nor was any significant difference observed between plasma ACTH levels of the 2 groups (42.3 and 31.2 pg/ml, respectively). Our data indicate that plasma levels of the pituitary-derived peptides ACTH and β-EP are not increased in obesity-associated benign acanthosis nigricans, and suggest that its proposed hormonal mediator might originate independently from the large peptide precursor of ACTH, β-LPH and their fragments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-9
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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