Zinc salts have been used for a long time in the treatment of mild and moderate acne. The usual dose is between 30 mg and 60 mg zinc metal daily (corresponding to two - and four respectively - capsules of 15 mg zinc gluconate per day in France). Clinical studies have shown a significant effect of zinc salts mainly on inflamma-

Zinc is a cofactor of many metallo-enzymes [1] implicated in the replication of DNA, gene transcription, RNA and proteomic synthesis. Thus, it increases the proliferation of keratinocytes and modulates their differentiation. This physiological role is altered by a severe shortage of zinc [2] (congenital or acquired). At the clinical level, it induces an ichtyosiform aspect of the skin, which is, moreover, atrophic. At the histo-logical level, a parakeratosis aspect is noted, with necrosis of keratinocytes, and at the electron microscopy level a decrease of keratohyalin granules and tonofilaments in the keratinocytes is observed.

In the dermis, zinc also stimulates the proliferation of fibroblasts, increasing collagen and elastin production. This is mainly related to its action on lysyl oxidase. In addition, it is a co-enzyme of several metallo-enzymes of the dermis.

Zinc also has a role in the apoptosis of kerati-nocytes. In vitro, the addition of a chelator of zinc to the culture medium decreases the nuclear concentration of zinc in keratinocytes, inducing cell apoptosis. This activity is related mainly to its role as a co-enzyme of different transcrip-tional factors implicated in apoptosis, such as P53 or FP1 (ferroportin 1). In addition, zinc, as an antagonist of calcium, inhibits the activation of "endonucleases", which have an anti-apop-totic activity. Recently it has been shown that zinc salts stimulate the production of insulinlike growth factor, which induces the proliferation of keratinocytes in the epidermis.

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