Psoriasis is not an autoimmune disease?

Exp Dermatol. 2015 Apr;24(4):241-4. doi: 10.1111/exd.12572. Epub 2014 Nov 18.


The concept that psoriasis is an autoimmune disease needs to be questioned. The autoimmune label has been based on molecular mimicry between streptococcal and keratin proteins and the existence of homologous peptides between these proteins. However, it is only peripheral blood CD8, and not CD4, T lymphocytes that respond to the homologous peptides. This ignores the fact that it is CD4 T cells which are necessary to initiate psoriasis. Recent studies on skin bacterial microbiota have found a variety of bacteria in both normal skin and psoriatic lesions. In biopsy specimens, the most common phylum was Firmicutes and the most common genus streptococcus in both psoriasis and normal skin. The innate immune system is activated in psoriasis, and recent genetic findings have shown the majority of susceptibility loci are associated with innate immunity. There is a known clinical relationship between both Crohn's disease (CD) and periodontitis, and psoriasis, and patients with psoriasis share mutations in some innate immunity genes with individuals with CD. It is now accepted that CD is due to a breakdown of immune tolerance (dysbiosis) to bacteria in the intestine. These findings suggest that psoriasis is initiated by an abnormal response to bacteria in the skin due to genetic factors.

Keywords: autoimmunity; microbiome; psoriasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / microbiology
  • Crohn Disease / etiology
  • Crohn Disease / immunology
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics
  • Microbiota
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Mimicry / immunology
  • Psoriasis / etiology
  • Psoriasis / immunology*
  • Skin / microbiology