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Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2006 Jan-Feb;24(1 Suppl 40):S7-13.

Role of soluble and cell surface molecules in the pathogenesis of autoimmune skin diseases.

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Di.S.E.M. Section of Dermatology, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.


The skin is one of the most commonly involved tissue in rheumatic autoimmune diseases. Different mechanisms are thought to be implicated in the pathogenesis of skin lesions. In genetically predisposed individuals, ultraviolet (UV) light can contribute to the induction of skin lesions via an inflammatory process. UV light promotes the release of cytokines by keratinocytes and the induction of adhesion molecules on the surface of epidermal cells initiating a cascade of inflammatory events and recruiting immunoinflammatory cells into the skin. In this review data regarding the expression of TNF-alpha in lesional skin tissue from subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus patients and the role of interferons in the pathogenesis of skin manifestations of rheumatic autoimmune diseases are reported. In addition, an overview on the expression of cellular adhesion molecules in these diseases is provided.UV light can also induce apoptosis in keratinocytes. During this cell death several enzymes became activated. Among them, desoxyribonuclease (DNase) is an enzyme involved in degrading DNA during apoptosis. Data regarding the activity of DNAse in patients with cutaneous lupus erythematosus as a possible risk factor for the development of systemic disease are here reported.

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