Background: The pathogenesis of hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) remains unclear. In order to develop effective treatment strategies, a deeper understanding of pathophysiology is needed. This is impaired by multiple small studies with inconsistent methodologies and the impact of co-occurring pro-inflammatory conditions such as smoking and obesity. Methods: This systematic review aimed to collate all published reports of cytokine studies in tissue, blood, serum and exudate. It was registered with PROSPERO (Registration number CRD42018104664) performed in line with the PRISMA checklist. Results: 19 studies were identified comprising 564 individual HS patients and 198 control patients examining 81 discrete cytokines. Methodology was highly varied and the quality of studies was generally low. There was a large degree of variance between the measured levels of cytokines. 78.2% of cytokines demonstrated heterogeneity by the chi-squared test for homogeneity and hence meta-analysis was not deemed appropriate. However, a strong and significant IL-17 signalling component was identified. Conclusions: Cytokines consistently elevated in lesional, peri-lesional and unaffected tissue are identified and discussed. Areas for further investigation include the role of dendritic cells in HS; the contribution of obesity, smoking, diabetes and the microbiome to cytokine profiles in HS; and examining the natural history of this disease through longitudinal measurements of cytokines over time.
Frew, J. W., Hawkes, J. E., & Krueger, J. G. (2018). A systematic review and critical evaluation of inflammatory cytokine associations in hidradenitis suppurativa. F1000Research, 7, 1930. https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.17267.1