Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) (also designated acne inversa) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by painful purulent skin lesions and progressive destruction of skin architecture. Despite the high burden for the patients, pathogenetic pathways underlying HS alterations remain obscure. When we examined the HS cytokine pattern, IL-1β turned out to be a highly prominent cytokine, overexpressed even compared with psoriatic lesions. Analyses of IL-1β-induced transcriptome in various cell types showed overlapping profiles, with upregulations of molecules causing immune cell infiltration and extracellular matrix degradation, and of specific cytokines including IL-6, IL-32, and IL-36. Matching cellular IL-1 receptor levels, dermal fibroblasts showed both the strongest and broadest IL-1β response, which was not clearly shared or strengthened by other cytokines. The IL-1β signature was specifically present in HS lesions and could be reversed by application of IL-1 receptor antagonist. Search for blood parameters associated with IL-1β pathway activity in HS identified serum amyloid A, which was synergistically induced by IL-1β and IL-6 in hepatocytes. Consequently, strongly elevated blood serum amyloid A levels in HS correlated positively with the extent of inflammatory skin alterations. In summary, the IL-1β pathway represents a pathogenetic cascade, whose activity may be therapeutically targeted and monitored by blood SAA levels.
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