The androgen-dependent flank organ of the Golden Syrian hamster has been used as a model for acne and hair growth. 1-cm silastic capsules of testosterone (T) were implanted subcutaneously into female hamsters. Serum levels of T remained relatively constant after 1 week. Maximum growth of the pigmented spot occurred at 4 weeks but regressed by 6 weeks. In contrast, the growth of the pilosebaceous unit continued for 6 weeks. Total sebaceous area and number of sebaceous lobules increased by 3 weeks with a further increase in total area by 6 weeks. The distribution of lobule size shifted to more large lobules. Diameters of hair follicles increased at 3 and 6 weeks with a concomitant recruitment to large follicles. The density of hairs remained constant. The diminution in size of the pigmented spot between 4 and 6 weeks of T stimulation was not related to a reduction in serum T. In fact, there was persistent growth of the sebaceous glands and hair follicles at this time. The measurement of the pigmented spot of the flank organ is not a reliable indicator of the androgen responsiveness of sebaceous glands and/or hair follicles.

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