New Details Emerge About Psoriasis

Scientists from the Wrzburg University Hospital have now focused on a cell type that has received little attention so far in connection with psoriasis: the so-called B lymphocytes. They were able to show that these cells are capable of influencing the skin disease by regulating the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10). They are a potential target for new therapies for the disease which is incurable according to the present state of research. The scientists have now published their findings in a recent issue of the journal Nature Communications.

"It was crucial to find out that synthesis of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 by the B lymphocytes through the interaction with the protein nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFATc1), a transcription factor, was reduced," says Professor Matthias Goebeler of the University Hospital and Outpatient Clinic for Dermatology, Venerology and Allergology Wrzburg. NFATc1 inhibits reading of the IL-10 gene in B cells, ultimately resulting in poorer control of the inflammatory processes in the skin. By uncovering more details about the interaction, we could develop drugs that suppress the inflammatory processes in psoriasis even more specifically in the future."

Skin Disease

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that affects one to three percent of the population. Psoriasis comes in various levels of severity from single inflamed and scaly spots - so-called plaques at the elbows or knees - to a very severe disease pattern affecting the entire skin. Around 20 percent of psoriasis patients additionally suffer from painful arthritis.

Typically, psoriasis patients experience recurrent flares of varying severity during their life. Depending on the extent and the course of the disease, different therapies are possible from topical agents and/or phototherapy to medication or injections.

The definition doctors and scientists use to describe psoriasis is: A pathological and very complex autoimmune reaction of the skin." The disease affects one to three percent of the population and is characterized by accelerated cell division in the upper dermal layers with proliferated skin cells and an inflammation of the skin beneath. Many different cells are involved in the complex processes: skin cells (keratinocytes) and cells of the immune system, among others T lymphocytes, macrophages, mast cells and others.

Another key contributor to the study was Edgar Serfling, active Senior Professor in the Department of Molecular Pathology at the Pathological Institute of the University of Wrzburg.

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