Psoriasis: a T-cell-mediated autoimmune disease induced by streptococcal superantigens?

Immunol Today. 1995 Mar;16(3):145-9. doi: 10.1016/0167-5699(95)80132-4.


Psoriasis is a T-cell-mediated disease that can be triggered by infection with group A beta-haemolytic streptococci. It is proposed that psoriatic skin lesions are initiated by exotoxin-activated T cells, and persist because of specific T cells that react both with streptococcal M protein and a skin determinant, possibly a variant of keratin. As discussed here by Helgi Valdimarsson and colleagues, cytokines released by the superantigen (SAg)-stimulated T cells could induce or enhance the expression of the crossreactive autoantigen, leading to the rescue and activation of autoreactive T cells. In this way, the SAg-determined T-cell receptor V beta phenotype would be maintained by T cells in psoriatic lesions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Psoriasis / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / immunology
  • Streptococcal Infections / immunology*
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / immunology*
  • Superantigens / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Superantigens