Skin lesions in dermatomyositis (DM) are common, are frequently refractory, and have prognostic significance. Histologically, DM lesions appear similar to cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) lesions and frequently cannot be differentiated. We thus compared the transcriptional profile of DM biopsies with CLE lesions to identify unique features. Type I IFN signaling, including IFN-κ upregulation, was a common pathway in both DM and CLE; however, CLE also exhibited other inflammatory pathways. Notably, DM lesions could be distinguished from CLE by a 5-gene biomarker panel that included IL18 upregulation. Using single-cell RNA-sequencing, we further identified keratinocytes as the main source of increased IL-18 in DM skin. This study identifies a potentially novel molecular signature, with significant clinical implications for differentiating DM from CLE lesions, and highlights the potential role for IL-18 in the pathophysiology of DM skin disease.
Lam C. Tsoi, Mehrnaz Gharaee-Kermani, Celine C. Berthier, Tori Nault, Grace A. Hile, Shannon N. Estadt, Matthew T. Patrick, Rachael Wasikowski, Allison C. Billi, Lori Lowe, Tamra J. Reed, Johann E. Gudjonsson, J. Michelle Kahlenberg