What causes hidradenitis suppurativa?

H Kurzen, I Kurokawa, G B E Jemec, L Emtestam, K Sellheyer, E J Giamarellos-Bourboulis, I Nagy, F G Bechara, K Sartorius, J Lapins, D Krahl, P Altmeyer, J Revuz, C C Zouboulis
Experimental Dermatology 2008, 17 (5): 455-6; discussion 457-72
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS)--a rather common, very chronic and debilitating inflammatory skin appendage disorder with a notoriously underestimated burden of disease--has long been a playground for the high priests of nomenclature: Ask a bunch of eminent dermatologists and skin pathologists to publicly share their thoughts on what causes HS, and they will soon get entrenched in a heated debate on whether this historical term is a despicable misnomer. Fortunately, the recently founded Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation (HSF;, to which EXP DERMATOL serves as home journal, has broken with this unproductive tradition and has encouraged publication of the current CONTROVERSIES feature. This is exclusively devoted to discussing the pathobiology of this chronic neutrophilic folliculitis of unknown origin. Although traces of terminological bickering remain visible, it does the HS experts in our virtual debate room credit that they engage in a constructive and comprehensive dissection of potential pathogenesis pathways that may culminate in the clinical picture we know under the competing terms HS or acne inversa. These experts sketch more often complementary than mutually exclusive pathogenesis scenarios, and the outlines of a conceivable consensus on the many open pathobiology questions begin to emerge in these CONTROVERSIES. Hopefully, this heralds a welcome new tradition: to get to the molecular heart of HS pathogenesis, which can only be achieved by a renaissance of solid basic HS research, as the key to developing more effective HS therapy.

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