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PLoS One. 2021 Mar 24;16(3):e0248650. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0248650. eCollection 2021.


BACKGROUND: Acne vulgaris and rosacea are common inflammatory complications of the skin, both characterized by abnormal infiltration of immune cells. The two diseases can be differentiated based on characteristic profile of the immune cell infiltrates at the periphery of disease lesions. In addition, dysregulated infiltration of immune cells not only occur in the acne lesions but also in non-lesional areas of patients with the disease, thus characterizing the immune infiltration in these sites can further enhance our understanding on the pathogenesis of acne.

METHODS: Five microarray data-sets (GSE108110, GSE53795, GSE65914, GSE14905 and GSE78097) were downloaded from Gene Expression Omnibus. After removing the batch effects and normalizing the data, we applied the CIBERSORT algorithm combined with signature matrix LM22, to describe 22 types of immune cells' infiltration in acne less than 48 hour (H) old, in comparation with non-lesional skin of acne patients, healthy skin and rosacea (including erythematotelangiectatic rosacea, papulopustular rosacea and phymatous rosacea) and we compared gene expression of Th1 and Th17-related molecules in acne, rosacea and healthy control.

RESULTS: Compared with the non-lesional skin of acne patients, healthy individuals and rosacea patients, there is a significant increase in infiltration of neutrophils, monocytes and activated mast cells around the acne lesions, less than 48 H after their development. Contrarily, few naive CD4+ T cells, plasma cells, memory B cells and resting mast cells infiltrate acne sites compared to the aforementioned groups of individuals. Moreover, the infiltration of Regulatory T cells (Tregs) in acne lesions is substantially lower, relative to non-lesional sites of acne patients and skin of healthy individuals. In addition, non-lesional sites of acne patients exhibit lower infiltration of activated memory CD4+ T cells, plasma cells, memory B cells, M0 macrophages, neutrophils, resting mast cells but higher infiltration of Tregs and resting dendritic cells relative to skin of healthy individuals. Intriguingly, we found that among the 3 rosacea subtypes, the immune infiltration profile of papulopustular rosacea is the closest to that of acne lesions. In addition, through gene expression analysis of acne, rosacea and skin tissues of healthy individuals, we found a higher infiltration of Th1 and Th17 cells in acne lesions, relative to non-lesional skin areas of acne patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides new insights into the inflammatory pathogenesis of acne, and the difference between acne and rosacea, which helps in differentiating the two diseases. Our findings also guide on appropriate target therapy of the immune cell infiltrates in the two disease conditions.

PMID:33760854 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0248650

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