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J Autoimmun. 2000 Feb;14(1):63-78.

CD69, HLA-DR and the IL-2R identify persistently activated T cells in psoriasis vulgaris lesional skin: blood and skin comparisons by flow cytometry.

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Laboratory for Investigative Dermatology, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Many lymphocyte-activation-associated molecules are observed by immunohistochemistry in psoriasis vulgaris lesional skin. Non-T cells in lesional skin also express these molecules. We quantitatively measured the number of T cells expressing cell surface activation-associated molecules (CD69, CD25, CD122, HLA-DR) and co-stimulatory molecules (CD28, CTLA-4, CD80, CD86), including a Type 2 T cell marker (CD30) and CD11b, by flow cytometry of skin and peripheral blood. T cells in single cell suspensions of psoriatic lesional-epidermis-expressed HLA-DR (86%), CD69 (59%), CD25 (55%), CD122 (44%), and CD28 (91%). Dermal T cells showed similar percentages except for CD69 (17%). CD69 was found directly in lesional skin biopsies by immunohistochemistry. Both CD4 and CD8 subsets from lesional skin contained large populations of CD25+ cells with a bias towards CD8 activation in the epidermis and towards CD4 activation in the dermis. CD86, CD80, CTLA-4, CD30 and CD11b were expressed by less than 23% of the T cell populations from both the epidermis and dermis. CD30+CD4+ cells were found two-fold over CD8+ T cells. These results show that the majority of lesional lymphocytes are persistently activated. We also found the majority of Type 2 associated markers primarily on the CD4+ epidermal T cell population. Psoriatic blood contained elevated levels of T cells expressing CD25, primarily within the CD8+ subset. Thus the majority of lesional T cells expressed the three primary activation markers, while psoriatic blood T cells were distinguished by an increase in CD25, specifically within the CTL population.

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