Assessment of Interleukin 16 Serum Levels and Skin Expression in Psoriasis Patients in Correlation with Clinical Severity of the Disease

PLoS One. 2016 Oct 27;11(10):e0165577. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0165577. eCollection 2016.


Interleukin 16 (IL-16) has been described as a significant cytokine involved in the recruitment of CD4+ cells during inflammation; however, its potential role in psoriasis has not been defined. Our aim was to investigate the IL-16 serum levels and IL-16 mRNA skin expression in psoriasis patients in correlation with disease severity and mRNA skin expression for CD4. Moreover, the IL-16 skin localization was assessed and the -295 T/C IL-16 polymorphism was analyzed. For this exploratory, observational, and cross-sectional study, 97 unrelated patients with chronic plaque type psoriasis and 104 healthy controls were enrolled. IL-16 serum levels were significantly increased in patients compared with controls (P = 0.000022) and positively correlated with Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (r = 0.34, P = 0.0007), Body Surface Area (r = 0.34, P = 0.01) and were significantly higher in individuals with moderate to severe psoriasis (P = 0.0029). There was no significant correlation between IL-16 serum levels and Dermatology Quality of Life Index and no differences in genotype and allele frequencies for -295 T/C IL-16 polymorphism. The expression of IL-16 (mRNA and protein) was elevated in the margin of psoriatic skin while statistically significant increase in IL-16 immunoreactivity, but not in mRNA level, was observed within plaques. Furthermore, the IL-16 mRNA levels within psoriatic lesions positively correlated with the levels of CD4 mRNA, but not with Psoriasis Area and Severity Index. In conclusion, our data revealed an association between circulating IL-16 and severity of psoriasis which indicates that this cytokine could serve as a potential marker of disease activity. However, further investigations are required.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-16 / blood
  • Interleukin-16 / genetics
  • Interleukin-16 / metabolism*
  • Psoriasis / blood
  • Psoriasis / pathology*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Skin / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Interleukin-16
  • RNA, Messenger

Grants and funding

The authors have no external funding to report.