Background: Type 1 T cells are hypothesized to be central in the immunopathogenesis of psoriasis. Through elaboration of interferon (IFN)-gamma, type 1 T cells regulate the expression of many 'downstream' inflammatory genes, including an array of chemokines that regulate leucocyte trafficking and activation in skin lesions. Accordingly, disease progression and/or severity might be controlled by the degree to which differing cytokines and chemokines are overexpressed in focal skin regions. To examine this possibility, we studied two forms of chronic psoriasis vulgaris that differ significantly in overall severity and progression: small plaque (SP) psoriasis occurring in Korean patients, and large plaque (LP) psoriasis occurring in North American patients.
Objectives: To characterize LP and SP psoriasis vulgaris with respect to expression of proinflammatory genes that define the type 1 T-cell axis in skin lesions [genes encoding interleukin (IL)-12, IFN-gamma, and IFN-gamma-regulated chemokines or inflammatory mediators].
Methods: Total cellular RNA of skin samples from groups of patients with LP or SP psoriasis was analysed by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (TaqMan analysis) to compare the differences in mRNA expression of genes related to the IFN-gamma pathway.
Results: The mRNA expression of keratin 16, CD25, IFN-gamma, IL-12 p40, signal transducer and activator of transcription-1, inducible nitric oxide synthase, IL-8, macrophage inflammatory protein-3alpha, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, S100A12, IFN-gamma-inducible protein of 10 kDa, IFN-inducible T-cell alpha-chemoattractant and monokine induced by IFN-gamma was increased in the lesions of both LP psoriasis and SP psoriasis. However, IL-18 mRNA expression was significantly different in the lesions of LP psoriasis in comparison with those of SP psoriasis.
Conclusions: The results indicate that proinflammatory type 1 genes regulated by IFN-gamma are similarly increased in both SP and LP psoriasis, but a potential difference in IL-18 exists between these disease forms. The consistent activation of this set of genes argues for a central role of IFN-gamma as a molecular regulator of inflammation in these distinct subtypes of psoriasis vulgaris. In contrast, disease extent/severity must be controlled by yet other factors.