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Acta Derm Venereol. 2004;84(5):363-9.

Immunofluorescence localization of nuclear retinoid receptors in psoriasis versus normal human skin.

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Department of Medical Sciences, Section of Dermatology and Venereology, Uppsala University, Sweden.


Psoriasis responds favourably to treatment with retinoids but the cellular pathways mediating these effects are poorly understood. Retinoids regulate keratinocyte proliferation and maturation via binding to nuclear retinoic acid receptors (mainly RARalpha and RARgamma) which form heterodimers with the 9-cis-RA receptor, RXRalpha. We have previously shown that mRNA expression of RARalpha and RXRalpha is down-regulated in psoriatic lesions as compared with non-lesional human skin. In the present study, we investigated the protein expression of RARalpha, RARgamma and RXRalpha in normal and psoriatic skin using indirect immunofluorescence analysis. Epidermal keratinocytes of normal and non-lesional psoriatic skin displayed similar nuclear localization of all three receptors; RARalpha was detected with decreasing intensity from basal to suprabasal layers, RARgamma showed the opposite trend, whereas RXRalpha was evenly expressed throughout the epidermis. In lesional psoriatic skin, however, all three receptor proteins showed a much higher staining intensity in the lower half of the epidermis; in particular, RARalpha immunoreactivity was low or even absent in the upper layers of epidermis. The results support the idea that psoriasis is associated with abnormal retinoid signalling in lesional epidermis.

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