Researchers Identify Potential Protein Triggers of Psoriasis

Researchers have reportedly identified several proteins that are highly prevalent in human psoriasis and may play an important role in the development and progression of the disease and its co-morbidities and complications, including psoriatic arthritis.

Researchers have reportedly found several proteins that are highly prevalent in human psoriasis and may play an important role in the development and progression of the disease.

Nicole L. Ward, PhD, associate professor of dermatology and neurosciences, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and a team of researchers focused on studying the pathogenesis of psoriasis and its co-morbidities and complications (including psoriatic arthritis) have been “actively working to identify new molecules key to the disease process that could become potential drug targets.”

The researchers evaluated a pool of about 1,280 proteins that are differentially regulated in psoriasis, focusing on five that “stood out either because of their high prevalence in human psoriasis or their prominence in other studies relating to human psoriasis tissue.”

Working with skin tissue samples taken from mice with psoriasis, Ward and her team compared the samples to tissue from healthy mice, seeking “to identify new proteins that were differentially regulated in the skin tissue of psoriasis mice compared to the skin tissue of healthy mice.”

The team also examined human psoriasis skin cells and tissue samples to see if any of these proteins were also more prevalent in humans with the disease.

“We were interested in looking for the increased presence of these proteins, not just in the psoriasis-like skin inflammation of the mouse, but more importantly, we needed to know how the increased presence of these proteins translated to human psoriasis. So we took the information we discovered in the mouse model and went back to the patients and confirmed the increase in these proteins in their lesional psoriasis skin tissue,” said Ward.

According to a news release from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Ward’s team plans to pursue further research with the goal of “uncovering the role and significance of each of these proteins in the progression of psoriasis. Determining the individual contributions of each protein will help provide strategic therapeutic targets to change the course of a patient’s psoriasis or, at the very least, provide a better understanding of how a change in the regulation of these proteins contributes to skin inflammation and psoriatic disease.”

The study results were published in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. In their discussion, the authors noted that their results “highlight the usefulness of preclinical disease models using readily-available mouse skin and demonstrate the utility of proteomic approaches for identifying novel peptides/proteins that are differentially regulated in psoriasis that could serve as sources of auto-antigens or provide novel therapeutic targets for the development of new anti-psoriatic treatments.”