CD69, HLA-DR and the IL-2R identify persistently activated T cells in psoriasis vulgaris lesional skin: blood and skin comparisons by flow cytometry

J Autoimmun. 2000 Feb;14(1):63-78. doi: 10.1006/jaut.1999.0343.


Many lymphocyte-activation-associated molecules are observed by immunohistochemistry in psoriasis vulgaris lesional skin. Non-T cells in lesional skin also express these molecules. We quantitatively measured the number of T cells expressing cell surface activation-associated molecules (CD69, CD25, CD122, HLA-DR) and co-stimulatory molecules (CD28, CTLA-4, CD80, CD86), including a Type 2 T cell marker (CD30) and CD11b, by flow cytometry of skin and peripheral blood. T cells in single cell suspensions of psoriatic lesional-epidermis-expressed HLA-DR (86%), CD69 (59%), CD25 (55%), CD122 (44%), and CD28 (91%). Dermal T cells showed similar percentages except for CD69 (17%). CD69 was found directly in lesional skin biopsies by immunohistochemistry. Both CD4 and CD8 subsets from lesional skin contained large populations of CD25+ cells with a bias towards CD8 activation in the epidermis and towards CD4 activation in the dermis. CD86, CD80, CTLA-4, CD30 and CD11b were expressed by less than 23% of the T cell populations from both the epidermis and dermis. CD30+CD4+ cells were found two-fold over CD8+ T cells. These results show that the majority of lesional lymphocytes are persistently activated. We also found the majority of Type 2 associated markers primarily on the CD4+ epidermal T cell population. Psoriatic blood contained elevated levels of T cells expressing CD25, primarily within the CD8+ subset. Thus the majority of lesional T cells expressed the three primary activation markers, while psoriatic blood T cells were distinguished by an increase in CD25, specifically within the CTL population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abatacept
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism*
  • Antigens, Differentiation / metabolism
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / metabolism*
  • Autoimmunity
  • B7-1 Antigen / metabolism
  • B7-2 Antigen
  • Biomarkers
  • CD28 Antigens / metabolism
  • CD4-CD8 Ratio
  • CTLA-4 Antigen
  • Female
  • HLA-DR Antigens / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunoconjugates*
  • Ki-1 Antigen / metabolism
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Macrophage-1 Antigen / metabolism
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoriasis / immunology*
  • Psoriasis / pathology
  • Psoriasis / therapy
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / pathology


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • B7-1 Antigen
  • B7-2 Antigen
  • Biomarkers
  • CD28 Antigens
  • CD69 antigen
  • CD86 protein, human
  • CTLA-4 Antigen
  • CTLA4 protein, human
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Ki-1 Antigen
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Macrophage-1 Antigen
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Abatacept