Psoriatic scales: a promising source for the isolation of human skin-derived antimicrobial proteins

J Leukoc Biol. 2005 Apr;77(4):476-86. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0704409. Epub 2005 Jan 3.


Patients with psoriasis, a chronic, hyperproliferative and noninfectious skin disease, suffer surprisingly fewer cutaneous infections than would be expected. This observation led us to the hypothesis that a local "chemical shield" in the form of antimicrobial proteins provides psoriatic skin with resistance against infection. We subsequently began a systematic analysis of in vitro antimicrobially active proteins in psoriatic-scale extracts. A biochemical approach with rigorous purification and characterization combined with antimicrobial testing identified a number of mostly new human antibiotic peptides and proteins. In this review, we will focus on the most prominent antimicrobial proteins in psoriatic-scale extracts, which we identified as the S100-protein psoriasin, human beta-defensin 2 (hBD-2), RNase 7, lysozyme, and human neutrophil defensin 1-3. Apart from these cutaneous, antimicrobial proteins, only a few others, including hBD-3, have been characterized. A great number of minor antimicrobial proteins await further structural characterization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Psoriasis / physiopathology*
  • Skin / physiopathology
  • alpha-Defensins / isolation & purification
  • beta-Defensins / chemistry
  • beta-Defensins / isolation & purification*


  • DEFB103A protein, human
  • DEFB4A protein, human
  • alpha-Defensins
  • beta-Defensins
  • human neutrophil peptide 1
  • human neutrophil peptide 2
  • human neutrophil peptide 3