George Washington University Researchers have identified the protein dermcidin has the greatest fold change in the chronic skin disease hidradenitis suppurativa.

What is Dermcidin?

An anti-microbial peptide normally found in human sweat, may play a role in the pathogenesis of hidradenitis suppurativa.

Significance of George Washington University Finding?

Until now the molecular drivers of HS have been poorly understood.  The team also found that IL37, a cytokine known to be a natural suppressor of innate immune responses, was downregulated in HS specimens compared to normal controls.

Victoria Shanmugam, MD associate professor of medicine GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences noted “these findings suggest regulators  of the innate immune response and particularly antimicrobial peptide production may play a role in HS pathogenesis.”  The data from this research suggests that multiple biological pathways are disrupted in HS, indicating that inflammatory pathways merit additional investigation as potential drivers of the disease.

Next Steps

Further study is needed to fully understand the role of antimicrobial peptides, particularly dermcidin, in the pathogenesis of HS and whether these pathway lend themselves to the development of new therapeutic options for the disease.


This may not make those afflicted with HS today happy, as understandably it doesn’t provide any imminent cure. However, it is a step further and represents progress. Moreover, these researchers at George Washington University are excellent resources for learning more about the disease. TrialSite News will track this group of investigators.

Study Title 

“Transcriptome Patterns in Hidradenitis Suppurativa: Support for the Role of Antimicrobial Peptides and Interferon Pathways in Disease Pathogenesis”

The study was published in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology.

Lead Research/Investigator

Victoria Shanmugam, MD 

Source: George Washington University

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