Vesicular hand eczema transcriptome analysis provides insights into its pathophysiology

Exp Dermatol. 2021 Jul 12. doi: 10.1111/exd.14428. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Hand eczema is a common inflammatory skin condition of the hands whose pathogenesis is largely unknown. More insight and knowledge of the disease on a more fundamental level might lead to a better understanding of the biological processes involved, which could provide possible new treatment strategies. We aimed to profile the transcriptome of lesional palmar epidermal skin of patients suffering from vesicular hand eczema using RNA-sequencing. RNA-sequencing was performed to identify differentially expressed genes in lesional vs. non-lesional palmar epidermal skin from a group of patients with vesicular hand eczema compared to healthy controls. Comprehensive real-time quantitative PCR analyses and immunohistochemistry were used for validation of candidate genes and protein profiles for vesicular hand eczema. Overall, a significant and high expression of genes/proteins involved in keratinocyte host defense and inflammation was found in lesional skin. Furthermore, we detected several molecules, both up or downregulated in lesional skin, which are involved in epidermal differentiation. Immune signalling genes were found to be upregulated in lesional skin, albeit with relatively low expression levels. Non-lesional patient skin showed no significant differences compared to healthy control skin. Lesional vesicular hand eczema skin shows a distinct expression profile compared to non-lesional skin and healthy control skin. Notably, the overall results indicate a large overlap between vesicular hand eczema and earlier reported atopic dermatitis lesional transcriptome profiles, which suggests that treatments for atopic dermatitis could also be effective in (vesicular) hand eczema.

Keywords: RNA sequencing; barrier function; hand eczema; pathophysiology; transcriptomics.