Defining a Unique Gene Expression Profile in Mature and Developing Keloids

Yuan O. Zhu*, Scott MacDonnell, Theodore Kaplan, Chien Liu, Yasmeen Ali, Stephanie M. Rangel, Matthew F. Wipperman, Madeleine Belback, Daphne S. Sun, Ziyou Ren, Xiaolong Alan Zhou, Gabor Halasz, Lori Morton, Roopal V. Kundu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Keloids are benign, fibroproliferative dermal tumors that typically form owing to abnormal wound healing. The current standard of care is generally ineffective and does not prevent recurrence. To characterize keloid scars and better understand the mechanism of their formation, we performed transcriptomic profiling of keloid biopsies from a total of 25 subjects of diverse racial and ethnic origins, 15 of whom provided a paired nonlesional sample, a longitudinal sample, or both. The transcriptomic signature of nonlesional skin biopsies from subjects with keloids resembled that of control skin at baseline but shifted to closely match that of keloid skin after dermal trauma. Peripheral keloid skin and rebiopsied surrounding normal skin both showed upregulation of epithelial–mesenchymal transition markers, extracellular matrix organization, and collagen genes. These keloid signatures strongly overlapped those from healthy wound healing studies, usually with greater perturbations, reinforcing our understanding of keloids as dysregulated and exuberant wound healing. In addition, 219 genes uniquely regulated in keloids but not in normal injured or uninjured skin were also identified. This study provides insights into mature and developing keloid signatures that can act as a basis for further validation and target identification in the search for transformative keloid treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100211
JournalJID Innovations
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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