Expression of chemokine receptor CXCR3 by lymphocytes and plasmacytoid dendritic cells in human psoriatic lesions

Arch Dermatol Res. 2010 Mar;302(2):113-23. doi: 10.1007/s00403-009-0966-2. Epub 2009 Jun 11.


In psoriasis, leukocytes that infiltrate skin lesions have been shown to be involved in the pathogenesis of this disease. Previous investigations reporting the presence of CXCR3(+) T lymphocytes in psoriatic lesional skin have suggested a role of this receptor in the recruitment of T cells into the lesion. The purpose of this study was to quantify the mRNA levels of CXCR3 and to perform a systematic analysis of the cell populations that express CXCR3 in human lesional and non-lesional psoriatic biopsies. We showed by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction that the mRNA levels of CXCR3 and its ligands, CXCL9-11, were significantly elevated in psoriatic lesions, as compared to non-lesional samples. Serial cryostat sections of psoriasis skin biopsies were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. The number of CXCR3(+) cells was low in non-lesional tissues. Quantitative image analysis demonstrated significant increases in the number of both epidermal and dermal CXCR3(+) cells in lesional compared with non-lesional biopsies. The majority of CXCR3(+) cells were located in the dermis of the lesional skin and 74% were demonstrated to be CD3(+) T lymphocytes. A small number of CXCR3(+) cells were CD68(+) myeloid cells. In addition, we found that nearly all BDCA-2(+) plasmacytoid dendritic cells in the psoriatic biopsies were CXCR3(+). These findings support and extend prior reports suggesting the potential role for CXCR3 in the pathophysiology of plaque psoriasis, by mediating the recruitment of plasmacytoid dendritic cells and T cells into the developing lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Count
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Psoriasis / etiology
  • Psoriasis / immunology*
  • Psoriasis / pathology
  • Psoriasis / therapy
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Receptors, CXCR3 / analysis
  • Receptors, CXCR3 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, CXCR3 / genetics
  • Receptors, CXCR3 / physiology*
  • Skin / immunology*
  • Skin / pathology


  • CXCR3 protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, CXCR3