J. Invest. Dermatol. - (-) - [2021-09-16; online 2021-09-16]
Pressure ulcer (PU) is a chronic wound often seen in patients with spinal cord injury and other bed-bound individuals, particularly in the elderly population. Despite its association with high mortality, the pathophysiology of PU remains poorly understood. In this study, we compared single-cell transcriptomic profiles of human epidermal cells from PU wound edges with those from uninjured skin and acute wounds in healthy donors. We identified significant shifts in the cell composition and gene expression patterns in PU. In particular, we found that major histocompatibility complex class II‒expressing keratinocytes were enriched in patients with worse healing outcomes. Furthermore, we showed that the IFN-γ in PU-derived wound fluid could induce major histocompatibility complex II expression in keratinocytes and that these wound fluid‒treated keratinocytes inhibited autologous T-cell activation. In line with this observation, we found that T cells from PUs enriched with major histocompatibility complex II+ keratinocytes produced fewer inflammatory cytokines. Overall, our study provides a high-resolution molecular map of human PU compared with that of acute wounds and intact skin, providing insights into PU pathology and the future development of tailored wound therapy.