PLoS ONE | 2019
The skin transcriptome in hidradenitis suppurativa uncovers an antimicrobial and sweat gland gene signature which has distinct overlap with wounded skin
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a debilitating chronic inflammatory skin disease resulting in non-healing wounds affecting body areas of high hair follicle and sweat gland density. The pathogenesis of HS is not well understood but appears to involve dysbiosis-driven aberrant activation of the innate immune system leading to excessive inflammation. Marked dysregulation of antimicrobial peptides and proteins (AMPs) in HS is observed, which may contribute to this sustained inflammation. Here, we analyzed HS skin transcriptomes from previously published studies and integrated these findings through a comparative analysis with a published wound healing data set and with immunofluorescence and qPCR analysis from new HS patient samples. Among the top differently expressed genes between lesional and non-lesional HS skin were members of the S100 family as well as dermcidin, the latter known as a sweat gland-associated AMP and one of the most downregulated genes in HS lesions. Interestingly, many genes associated with sweat gland function, such as secretoglobins and aquaporin 5, were decreased in HS lesional skin and we discovered that these genes demonstrated opposite expression profiles in healing skin. Conversely, HS lesional and wounded skin shared a common gene signature including genes encoding for S100 proteins, defensins, and genes encoding antiviral proteins. Overall, our results suggest that the pathogenesis of HS may be driven by changes in AMP expression and altered sweat gland function, and may share a similar pathology with chronic wounds.