Correlation between Reversal of DNA Methylation and Clinical Symptoms in Psoriatic Epidermis Following Narrow-Band UVB Phototherapy

J Invest Dermatol. 2015 Aug;135(8):2077-2083. doi: 10.1038/jid.2015.128. Epub 2015 Apr 1.


Epigenetic modifications by DNA methylation are associated with a wide range of diseases. Previous studies in psoriasis have concentrated on epigenetic changes in immune cells or in total skin biopsies that include stromal-associated changes. In order to improve our understanding of the role of DNA methylation in psoriasis, we sought to obtain a comprehensive DNA methylation signature specific for the epidermal component of psoriasis and to analyze methylation changes during therapy. Genome-wide DNA methylation profiling of epidermal cells from 12 patients undergoing narrow-band UVB phototherapy and 12 corresponding healthy controls revealed a distinct DNA methylation pattern in psoriasis compared with controls. A total of 3,665 methylation variable positions (MVPs) were identified with an overall hypomethylation in psoriasis patient samples. DNA methylation pattern was reversed at the end of phototherapy in patients showing excellent clinical improvement. Only 7% of phototherapy-affected MVPs (150 out of 2,108) correlate with nearby gene expression. Enrichment of MVPs in enhancers indicates tissue-specific modulation of the transcriptional regulatory machinery in psoriasis. Our study identified key epigenetic events associated with psoriasis pathogenesis and helps understand the dynamic DNA methylation landscape in the human genome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA / radiation effects
  • DNA Methylation / genetics
  • DNA Methylation / radiation effects*
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Epidermis / pathology
  • Epidermis / radiation effects*
  • Female
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phototherapy*
  • Psoriasis / diagnosis
  • Psoriasis / pathology
  • Psoriasis / therapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • DNA

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE63315