Background: Keratin 6 (K6) and keratin 10 (K10) are markers for epidermal hyperproliferation and differentiation, respectively, and are both expressed in the suprabasal layers of the epidermis. They may be co-expressed in different stages of the spreading psoriatic lesion, but single expression can also occur.
Objective: To investigate to what extent keratinocytes express K6 and K10, and to what extent they co-express K6 and K10 in different stages of the psoriatic lesion. We studied this in spreading psoriatic plaques.
Methods: Three 3-mm punch biopsies were obtained from the inner involved margin of a spreading lesion, from the uninvolved skin immediately adjacent to the spreading plaque, and from the distant uninvolved skin of 8 patients with incipient psoriasis. From 9 healthy volunteers, 3-mm punch biopsies were obtained as controls. After preparation of single cell suspensions of these biopsies, a triple staining protocol was performed with markers for K6 (monoclonal antibody LHK6B), K10 (monoclonal antibody RKSE60) and DNA content (TO-PRO-3 iodide). Subsequently, cells were measured with a flow cytometer and the proportion of the markers was calculated using specific software.
Results: We observed a population of K6/K10-co-expressing cells, but also populations expressing only K6. These subpopulations varied with the involvement of the lesion. There was a statistically significant difference between the inner margin and the outer margin with respect to the proportion of K6- and K10-expressing cells, whereas more K6-positive and K10-negative cells were detected in the inner margin of the lesions. The proportion of K6/K10-co-expressing cells in the inner margin was significantly different from the distant uninvolved skin.
Conclusion: We confirmed that individual keratinocytes in psoriasis can express K6 or K10 depending on their localization in involved or uninvolved skin. There is a unique subpopulation of cells in the psoriatic plaques which co-express K6 and K10. More studies are required to fully understand the pathogenic relevance of co-expression and single expression of K6 and K10.
Copyright 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel.