To assess whether the expression of connexins (Cx) by keratinocytes is altered under conditions of abnormal epidermal differentiation, we have compared Cx26, Cx32, Cx37, Cx40, and Cx43 in the epidermis of 11 psoriatic patients who had not been treated for at least 1 mo and of seven healthy individuals. In all samples of fully mature psoriatic plaques, we have observed a massive expression of Cx26, as judged at both the transcript level (northern blot) and the protein level (immunofluorescence). This protein became consistently detected between keratinocytes of the basal and granular layers at the periphery of psoriatic plaques and in all layers of fully developed psoriatic epidermis, except in regions of parakeratosis. None or a minimal amount of Cx26 was observed in both control and nonlesional regions of psoriatic epidermis. Psoriatic plaques also contained Cx43, the prominent gap junction protein in the interfollicular epidermis of normal human skin. The levels of this protein appeared to be slightly higher in psoriatic than in control skin, as judged at both the transcript level (northern blot) and the protein level (immunofluorescence). Three other connexins (Cx32, Cx37, and Cx40), which are not observed in control interfollicular epidermis, were not induced in either nonlesional or lesional regions of psoriatic skin. The data indicate that selective changes in the normal expression of connexins by keratinocytes are associated with the changes in the proliferation and differentiation program that these cells undergo in psoriasis.