Keloid scars are difficult to treat and frequently recur after treatment. US scientists have now identified an altered gene that may play a role in the development of keloid scars. Their study was presented at the "2015 Triological Combined Sections Meeting" in San Diego (California).
Researchers at the Henry Ford Clinic in Detroit (Michigan) studied the gene expression in keloid scar tissue and in healthy tissue. In so doing, they discovered that the AHNAK gene was comparatively significantly under-expressed in three of five keloid samples studied. In this small sample, gene expression was consistent with methylation.
AHNAK is found on the cell membrane of epithelial cells and in the nucleus and cytoplasm of other cell types such as fibroblasts. Until now, it had been assumed that AHNAK plays a role in cell adhesion and in exocytosis.
There is now a better understanding as to how keloids scars develop, thus offering a potential target for therapies, said study author Lamont R. Jones. In addition, the role of the gene in the general wound healing process was also clearer, which may help to prevent scar formation, said the researchers.