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Normal-Looking Skin Involved in Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus

Normal-appearing skin is type I interferon-rich environment; interferon-induced gene expression changes seen in all major skin type cells

TUESDAY, May 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) — For patients with cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE), normal-appearing skin is a type I interferon-rich, prelesional environment, according to a study published in the April 27 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Allison C. Billi, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues analyzed normal-appearing skin, lesional skin, and circulating immune cells from lupus patients via integrated single-cell RNA sequencing and spatial RNA sequencing to examine CLE immunopathogenesis.

The researchers found that in patients with lupus, normal-appearing skin represented a type I interferon-rich, prelesional environment. Interferon-induced gene expression changes were seen in all major skin cell types and altered predicted cell-cell communication networks. In addition, lupus-enriched CD16+ dendritic cells underwent interferon education in the skin, yielding proinflammatory phenotypes.

“These interferon-educated immune cells seem to be priming many different cell types in the skin to overreact to stimuli with excessive inflammatory responses, manifesting as disfiguring skin lesions,” Billi said in a statement. “We don’t yet know all of the stimuli that can tip the balance and precipitate these rashes, but ultraviolet light certainly appears to be one of them.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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