Short-Term Western Diet Intake Promotes IL-23‒Mediated Skin and Joint Inflammation Accompanied by Changes to the Gut Microbiota in Mice

J Invest Dermatol. 2021 Jul;141(7):1780-1791. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2020.11.032. Epub 2021 Jan 22.


We previously showed that exposure to a high-sugar and moderate-fat diet (i.e., Western diet [WD]) in mice induces appreciable skin inflammation and enhances the susceptibility to imiquimod-induced psoriasiform dermatitis, suggesting that dietary components may render the skin susceptible to psoriatic inflammation. In this study, utilizing an IL-23 minicircle-based model with features of both psoriasiform dermatitis and psoriatic arthritis, we showed that intake of WD for 10 weeks predisposed mice not only to skin but also to joint inflammation. Both WD-induced skin and joint injuries were associated with an expansion of IL-17A‒producing γδ T cells and increased expression of T helper type 17 cytokines. After IL-23 minicircle delivery, WD-fed mice had reduced microbial diversity and pronounced dysbiosis. Treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics suppressed IL-23‒mediated skin and joint inflammation in the WD-fed mice. Strikingly, reduced skin and joint inflammation with a partial reversion of the gut microbiota were noted when mice switched from a WD to a standard diet after IL-23 minicircle delivery. These findings reveal that a short-term WD intake‒induced dysbiosis is accompanied by enhanced psoriasis-like skin and joint inflammation. Modifications toward a healthier dietary pattern should be considered in patients with psoriatic skin and/or joint disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / immunology*
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / microbiology
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / prevention & control
  • Diet, Western / adverse effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dysbiosis / immunology*
  • Dysbiosis / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Imiquimod / administration & dosage
  • Imiquimod / immunology
  • Interleukin-23 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Psoriasis / immunology*
  • Psoriasis / microbiology
  • Psoriasis / prevention & control
  • Signal Transduction / immunology


  • Interleukin-23
  • Imiquimod