RNA Sequencing Keloid Transcriptome Associates Keloids With Th2, Th1, Th17/Th22, and JAK3-Skewing

Jianni Wu, Ester Del Duca, Michael Espino, Alyssa Gontzes, Inna Cueto, Ning Zhang, Yeriel D. Estrada, Ana B. Pavel, James G. Krueger, Emma Guttman-Yassky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Keloids are disfiguring, fibroproliferative growths and their pathogenesis remains unclear, inhibiting therapeutic development. Available treatment options have limited efficacy and harbor safety concerns. Thus, there is a great need to clarify keloid pathomechanisms that may lead to novel treatments. In this study, we aimed to elucidate the profile of lesional and non-lesional keloid skin compared to normal skin. We performed gene (RNAseq, qRT-PCR) and protein (immunohistochemistry) expression analyses on biopsy specimens obtained from lesional and non-lesional skin of African American (AA) keloid patients compared to healthy skin from AA controls. Fold-change≥2 and false-discovery rate (FDR)<0.05 was used to define significance. We found that lesional versus normal skin showed significant up-regulation of markers of T-cell activation/migration (ICOS, CCR7), Th2- (IL-4R, CCL11, TNFSF4/OX40L), Th1- (CXCL9/CXCL10/CXCL11), Th17/Th22- (CCL20, S100As) pathways, and JAK/STAT-signaling (JAK3) (false-discovery rate [FDR]<0.05). Non-lesional skin also exhibited similar trends. We observed increased cellular infiltrates in keloid tissues, including T-cells, dendritic cells, mast cells, as well as greater IL-4rα+, CCR9+, and periostin+ immunostaining. In sum, comprehensive molecular profiling demonstrated that both lesional and non-lesional skin show significant immune alternations, and particularly Th2 and JAK3 expression. This advocates for the investigation of novel treatments targeting the Th2 axis and/or JAK/STAT-signaling in keloid patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number597741
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
StatePublished - 23 Nov 2020


  • JAK3
  • RNA-seq
  • Th2
  • immune
  • inflammation
  • keloids


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