Transcriptome patterns in hidradenitis suppurativa: support for the role of antimicrobial peptides and interferon pathways in disease pathogenesis

Clin Exp Dermatol. 2019 Dec;44(8):882-892. doi: 10.1111/ced.13959. Epub 2019 Apr 24.


Background: Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a recurrent inflammatory disease of the apocrine sweat glands. Immune dysregulation probably contributes to the pathogenesis of HS.

Aim: To harness mRNA expression arrays to investigate the transcriptome profile in HS compared with control skin.

Methods: Illumina® HumanHT-12 v4 Expression BeadChips were used to measure mRNA expression in skin samples from HS (n = 10) and abdominoplasty (n = 11) skin specimens. Differentially expressed genes were detected by fitting genewise linear models to the normalized expression data and then modelling using the web-based software Ingenuity® Pathway Analysis.

Results: The antimicrobial peptide Dermcidin and the cytokine regulator interleukin (IL)-37 were both significantly downregulated in the HS specimens (Dermcidin expression log ratio -3.93, expression P = 0.04; IL-37 expression log ratio -3.29, expression P < 0.001). Pathway analysis revealed the interferon-signalling pathway, leucocyte extravasation pathway, T helper 1 and 2 pathways and nuclear factor of activated T cells as the top-five upregulated pathways in the HS samples.

Conclusion: Evaluation of transcriptome patterns in HS compared with normal skin demonstrated downregulation of the antimicrobial peptide Dermcidin and the innate immune regulator IL-37, as well as upregulation of interferon pathways and pathways of leucocyte activation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / genetics
  • Hidradenitis Suppurativa / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Interferons / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism*
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Reference Values
  • Signal Transduction
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Transcriptome*


  • IL37 protein, human
  • Interleukin-1
  • Peptides
  • RNA, Messenger
  • dermcidin
  • Interferons