Cell surface glycosylation patterns in psoriasis

APMIS. 1990 Mar;98(3):221-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1699-0463.1990.tb01025.x.


Cell surface carbohydrates are excellent markers of cellular differentiation and maturation processes due to their great structural and antigenic diversity as well as their known biosynthetic precursor/product relationships. Using a panel of monoclonal antibodies with well-defined carbohydrate specificities we have studied the expression of biosynthetically related antigens in normal and psoriatic skin. Two "families" of carbohydrate structures were investigated. One series of structures based on N-acetyllactosamine chains (type 2 chain: N-acetyllactosamine and fucosylated derivates hereof of H, Lex, Ley and sialyl-Lex) and another based on the simple mucin type core structures (type 3 chain: Tn, T and sialylated derivates hereof as well as the fucosylated derivative, H). Previously we have found these carbohydrate structures define distinct cell layers in stratified squamous epithelia of mucosa of the cheek, esophagus and uterine cervix. In normal and uninvolved epidermis, N-acetyllactosamine and T carbohydrates were found in the spinous cell layer, whereas the fucosylated derivates, H structures, were found in the granular cell layers above. The fucosylated and sialylated derivate of N-acetyllactosamine, sialylated Lex, had the same distribution as N-acetyllactosamine and T structures. This sequential expression of carbohydrates is similar to our previous findings in mucosa. However, in contrast to mucosa, normal skin basal cells did not label. The glycosylation pattern in psoriatic epithelium was changed in two ways. 1) Some carbohydrates (types 2 and 3 chain H and T) were expressed at an earlier stage of cell maturation. 2) The biosynthetic precursors to T structures, Tn and sialyl-Tn, which are not expressed in normal skin, and are often considered cancer-associated antigens, appeared in psoriatic skin. The Tn-antigen was expressed on basal and lower spinous cells, whereas the sialyl-Tn was only found on basal cells above the dermal papillae. The findings in the present work support previous studies of changes in cell surface glycosylation in psoriatic epidermis and demonstrate the appearance of tumor-associated antigens in highly proliferative, but benign, stratified epithelium.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Surface / metabolism*
  • Antigens, Tumor-Associated, Carbohydrate / metabolism
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism*
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Carbohydrates / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Psoriasis / immunology
  • Psoriasis / metabolism*
  • Skin / immunology
  • Skin / metabolism*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Antigens, Tumor-Associated, Carbohydrate
  • Carbohydrates