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J Cutan Pathol. 2004 Jan;31(1):35-42.

Possible role of Malassezia furfur in psoriasis: modulation of TGF-beta1, integrin, and HSP70 expression in human keratinocytes and in the skin of psoriasis-affected patients.

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Department of Dermatology, Second University of Naples, Via Constantinopoli 16, 80138 Naples, Italy.



Psoriasis is a disease characterized by an abnormal pattern of keratinocyte growth and differentiation. Malassezia furfur forms part of the normal human skin flora. It may also be involved in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. To define the role of M. furfur in the pathogenesis of psoriasis, we investigated how M. furfur regulates molecules involved in cell migration and proliferation. The experiments were performed using human keratinocytes and skin biopsies from M. furfur-positive and -negative psoriasis-affected patients. In addition, we examined the signal transduction mechanisms involved.


Western blot analysis was performed on human keratinocytes lysates treated or untreated with M. furfur and on biopsies from healthy and psoriasis patients. Signal transduction mechanisms involved were evaluated by electrophoretic mobility shift assay using the AP-1 inhibitor curcumin.


We found that M. furfur up-regulates transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1), integrin chain, and HSP70 expression in human keratinocytes via AP-1-dependent mechanism. In the biopsies of M. furfur-positive psoriasis-affected patients, an increase in TGF-beta1, integrin chains, and HSP70 expression was found.


Our data suggest that M. furfur can induce the overproduction of molecules involved in cell migration and hyperproliferation, thereby favoring the exacerbation of psoriasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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