DOI: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2023.2217 ISSN: 2168-6068

Genetic Variants Associated With Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Quan Sun, K. Alaine Broadaway, Sharon N. Edmiston, Kristen Fajgenbaum, Tyne Miller-Fleming, Linnea Lackstrom Westerkam, Maria Melendez-Gonzalez, Helen Bui, Franklin R. Blum, Brandt Levitt, Lan Lin, Honglin Hao, Kathleen Mullan Harris, Zhi Liu, Nancy E. Thomas, Nancy J. Cox, Yun Li, Karen L. Mohlke, Christopher J. Sayed
  • Dermatology


Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a common and severely morbid chronic inflammatory skin disease that is reported to be highly heritable. However, the genetic understanding of HS is insufficient, and limited genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have been performed for HS, which have not identified significant risk loci.


To identify genetic variants associated with HS and to shed light on the underlying genes and genetic mechanisms.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This genetic association study recruited 753 patients with HS in the HS Program for Research and Care Excellence (HS ProCARE) at the University of North Carolina Department of Dermatology from August 2018 to July 2021. A GWAS was performed for 720 patients (after quality control) with controls from the Add Health study and then meta-analyzed with 2 large biobanks, UK Biobank (247 cases) and FinnGen (673 cases). Variants at 3 loci were tested for replication in the BioVU biobank (290 cases). Data analysis was performed from September 2021 to December 2022.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Main outcome measures are loci identified, with association of P < 1 × 10−8 considered significant.


A total of 753 patients were recruited, with 720 included in the analysis. Mean (SD) age at symptom onset was 20.3 (10.57) years and at enrollment was 35.3 (13.52) years; 360 (50.0%) patients were Black, and 575 (79.7%) were female. In a meta-analysis of the 4 studies, 2 HS-associated loci were identified and replicated, with lead variants rs10512572 (P = 2.3 × 10−11) and rs17090189 (P = 2.1 × 10−8) near the SOX9 and KLF5 genes, respectively. Variants at these loci are located in enhancer regulatory elements detected in skin tissue.

Conclusions and Relevance

In this genetic association study, common variants associated with HS located near the SOX9 and KLF5 genes were associated with risk of HS. These or other nearby genes may be associated with genetic risk of disease and the development of clinical features, such as cysts, comedones, and inflammatory tunnels, that are unique to HS. New insights into disease pathogenesis related to these genes may help predict disease progression and novel treatment approaches in the future.

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