Scalp biomarkers during dupilumab treatment support Th2 pathway pathogenicity in alopecia areata

Yael Renert-Yuval, Ana B. Pavel, Ester Del Duca, Paola Facheris, Angel D. Pagan, Swaroop Bose, Pedro J. Gómez-Arias, Michael Angelov, Jennifer Bares, Margo Chima, Yeriel D. Estrada, Sandra Garcet, Mark G. Lebwohl, James G. Krueger, Emma Guttman-Yassky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: The mechanisms driving alopecia areata (AA) are still unclear, hindering development of targeted therapeutics. Specific Th2 targeting with dupilumab in AA provides a unique opportunity to dissect its pathogenesis and explore the role of Th2 pathway. Methods: We evaluated changes in scalp biomarkers in AA patients (with and without concomitant atopy) randomized to weekly dupilumab or placebo for 24 weeks, followed by open-label dupilumab for 24 weeks. Changes in biomarker levels were measured at weeks 12, 24, and 48 and were also correlated with clinical hair regrowth. Results: At week 24, preceding clinical hair regrowth outcomes, only dupilumab-treated patients presented significant suppression of cellular infiltrates, and multiple Th2-related, markers (CCL13/MCP-4, CCL18/PARC, CCL26/eotaxin-3, CCL24/Eotaxin-2), coupled with significant upregulation in the hair keratins. Th1-related suppression was evident later (week 48) when all patients received open-label dupilumab. Results were more pronounced in atopic AA patients, that showed 48% and 97% improvements in the lesional AA scalp profile at weeks 24 and 48, respectively, while 2% worsening was seen in the placebo arm at week 24. Moreover, placebo-treated patients presented 54% worsening in hair keratins when compared with baseline at week 24. At week 24, increases in hair keratins showed significant correlations only with decreases in Th2-related markers. Conclusions: Scalp biomarkers provide evidence of dupilumab efficacy in AA, detected even prior to clinical response, with exclusive correlations between early suppression of Th2 markers and increased hair keratins. These findings strengthen previous reports suggesting a possible role for Th2 cytokines as AA drivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1047-1059
Number of pages13
JournalAllergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • IgE
  • atopic dermatitis
  • biologics
  • clinical immunology
  • dermatology


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