Background: Th17 cells are a lineage of proinflammatory T helper cells producing interleukin (IL)-17. The importance of Th17 cells in inflammation and autoimmunity has now been recognized. The IL-17 cytokine family consists of six isoforms (IL-17A-IL-17F) whereas five members of the IL-17 receptor (IL-17R) family have been identified (IL-17RA-IL-17RE).
Objectives: To characterize the expression of the IL-17 isoforms and receptors in lesional and nonlesional psoriatic skin. Methods Keratome and punch biopsies taken from patients with psoriasis were examined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in order to measure the IL-17 isoforms and receptors.
Results: We demonstrated significantly increased mRNA expression of IL-17A, IL-17C and IL-17F in psoriatic skin. In contrast, the mRNA expression of IL-17B and IL-17D was significantly decreased in lesional compared with nonlesional skin, while IL-17E mRNA was undetectable. The increased mRNA expression of IL-17A, IL-17C and IL-17F was paralleled by an increased protein accumulation of these cytokines in psoriatic skin. Analysis of the IL-17R mRNA expression revealed significantly impaired mRNA expression of IL-17RB, IL-17RC, IL-17RD and IL-17RE in lesional psoriatic skin, whereas the mRNA expression of IL-17RA was similar in lesional and nonlesional psoriatic skin.
Conclusions: This study characterizes the mRNA profile of the IL-17 isoforms and receptors in psoriatic skin lesions. Furthermore, we demonstrate for the first time augmented protein levels of IL-17A, IL-17C and IL-17F in psoriatic skin lesions, indicating a possible role for IL-17C in addition to IL-17A and IL-17F in the pathogenesis of psoriasis.