Cav1.4 calcium channels control cytokine production by human peripheral TH17 cells and psoriatic skin-infiltrating T cells

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2022 Apr;149(4):1348-1357. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2021.09.030. Epub 2021 Oct 13.


Background: Type-17 inflammation characterizes psoriasis, a chronic skin disease. Because several inflammatory cytokines contribute to psoriasis pathogenesis, inhibiting the simultaneous production of these cytokines in TH17 cells may be beneficial in psoriasis. We found that Cav1.4, encoded by CACNA1F, was the only Cav1 calcium channel expressed in TH17 cells.

Objective: We sought to investigate the role of Cav1.4 expression in early TH17-activation events and effector functions, as well as its association with TH17 signature genes in lesional psoriatic (LP) skins.

Methods: Transcriptional gene signatures associated with CACNA1F expression were examined in LP skins by RT-PCR and in situ hybridization. Cav1 inhibitor and/or shRNA lentivectors were used to assess the contribution of Cav1.4 in TH17 activation and effector functions in a 3-dimensional skin reconstruction model.

Results: CACNA1F expression correlated with inflammatory cytokine expression that characterizes LP skins and was preferentially associated with RORC expression in CD4+ and CD4- cells from LP biopsies. Nicardipine, a Cav1 channel antagonist, markedly reduced inflammatory cytokine production by TH17 cells from blood or LP skin. This was associated with decreased TCR-induced early calcium events at cell membrane and proximal signaling events. The knockdown of Cav1.4 in TH17 cells impaired cytokine production. Finally, Cav1 inhibition reduced the expression of the keratinocyte genes characteristic of TH17-mediated psoriasis inflammation in human skin equivalents.

Conclusions: Cav1.4 channels promote TH17-cell functions both at the periphery and in inflammatory psoriatic skin.

Keywords: Ca(v)1.4; Psoriasis; T(H)17 cells; TCR activation; calcium channels; inflammatory cytokine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcium Channels* / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Psoriasis* / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology
  • Th17 Cells / pathology


  • Calcium Channels
  • Cytokines