Restricted T-cell receptor V beta gene usage in the skin of patients with guttate and chronic plaque psoriasis

Br J Dermatol. 1993 Nov;129(5):514-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1993.tb00477.x.


A strong association between acute guttate psoriasis and group A, beta-haemolytic streptococcal infections is well established. Furthermore, streptococcal M proteins and toxins have been shown to act as superantigens, stimulating subpopulations of T lymphocytes expressing particular V beta families. We have therefore studied the possible role of streptococcal superantigens in psoriasis by staining peripheral T lymphocytes and skin sections from patients with guttate or chronic plaque psoriasis for the expression of nine TCR V beta families, using a range of monoclonal antibodies. A marked over-representation of V beta 2+ T lymphocytes was observed in the dermis and epidermis of patients in both groups, when compared with T lymphocytes in their peripheral blood. A less marked dermal increase in V beta 5.1+ T lymphocytes was also observed in these patients. These findings are consistent with the involvement of a superantigen, possibly streptococcal, in the pathogenesis of psoriasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Psoriasis / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / analysis*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics
  • Skin / immunology*
  • Streptococcus / immunology
  • Superantigens / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


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