Propionibacterium acnes is considered to be involved in the aggravation of acne vulgaris, but it remains unclear whether P. acnes directly influences lipogenesis in sebaceous glands. In this study, we showed that a culture medium of P. acnes (acnes-CM) and formalin-killed P. acnes (F-acnes) prepared from P. acnes strains, JCM6473 and JCM6425, intracellularly augmented lipid droplet formation and triacylglycerol (TG) synthesis in undifferentiated and insulin-differentiated hamster sebocytes. Acnes-CM and F-acnes prepared from four clinical P. acnes strains elicited the same lipogenesis augmentation. The augmented TG production resulted from an increase in the diacylglycerol acyltransferase activity. Topical application of acnes-CM to the skin of hamster auricles every day for 4 weeks revealed that sebum accumulation was augmented in sebaceous glands and ducts. Furthermore, both acnes-CM and F-acnes increased the production of 15-deoxy-Delta(12,14)-prostaglandin J(2) (15d-PGJ(2)), a cytochrome P450 (CYP)-linked sebaceous lipogenic factor, in differentiated sebocytes. A CYP inhibitor, SKF-525A, decreased the acnes-CM- and F-acnes-augmented production of TG and 15d-PGJ(2). Thus, to our knowledge these results provide previously unreported evidence that P. acnes directly participates in the augmentation of sebaceous lipogenesis through a proposed mechanism in which an increase of 15d-PGJ(2) production through the CYP pathway is closely associated with the enhancement of TG production.