Atopic dermatitis and psoriasis are 2 of the most common inflammatory skin diseases. They are similar in that they are complex inherited diseases involving genes that encode immune components and structural proteins that regulate differentiation of epidermal cells. Each disease is characterized by proliferation of epidermal keratinocytes and abnormal cornification or terminal differentiation in the epidermis; skin lesions contain immune infiltrates of T cells, dendritic cells, and other types of leukocytes. We review similarities between the diseases and differences in epidermal barrier defects and immune cells. We also propose mechanisms of pathogenesis based on differences in the balance of immune cell subsets that could cause the phenotypes that distinguish these diseases. The first part of this 2-part review focuses on the clinical and pathologic features of the diseases; the second part discusses differences in immune cell subsets between atopic dermatitis and psoriasis and recent therapeutic strategies.
Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.