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Stocks, Marcus; Walter, Annika S.; Akova, Elif; Gauglitz, Gerd; Aszodi, Attila; Boecker, Wolfgang; Saller, Maximilian M. ORCID: 0000-0001-8774-7892; Volkmer, Elias ORCID: 0000-0001-6888-5341 (2023): RNA-seq unravels distinct expression profiles of keloids and Dupuytren's disease. Heliyon, 10 (1): e23681. ISSN 24058440

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Keloid scars and Dupuytren's disease are two common, chronic, and incurable fibroproliferative disorders that, among other shared clinical features, may induce joint contractures. We employed bulk RNA sequencing to discern potential shared gene expression patterns and underlying pathological pathways between these two conditions. Our aim was to uncover potential molecular targets that could pave the way for novel therapeutic strategies. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were functionally annotated using Gene Ontology (GO) terms and the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways with the Database for Annotation, Visualization, and Integrated Discovery (DAVID). The protein-protein-interaction (PPI) networks were constructed by using the Search Tool for the Retrieval of Interacting Genes (STRING) and Cytoscape. The Molecular Complex Detection (MCODE) plugin was used for downstream analysis of the PPI networks. A total of 1922 DEGs were identified within Dupuytren's and keloid samples, yet no overlapping gene expression profiles were detected. Significantly enriched GO terms were related to skin development and tendon formation in keloid scars and Dupuytren's disease, respectively. The PPI network analysis revealed 10 genes and the module analysis provided six protein networks, which might play an integral part in disease development. These genes, including CDH1, ERBB2, CASP3 and RPS27A, may serve as new targets for future research to develop biomarkers and/or therapeutic agents.

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