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J Invest Dermatol. 2006 Nov;126(11):2397-403. Epub 2006 Jul 20.

Observations of psoriasis in the absence of therapeutic intervention identifies two unappreciated morphologic variants, thin-plaque and thick-plaque psoriasis, and their associated phenotypes.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132-2409, USA.


Psoriatic plaque thickness is a clinical measure of psoriasis severity. We have observed that patients tend to revert to a baseline thickness of psoriatic plaques when in an untreated state, and hypothesized that other features of psoriasis could associate with this trait. Data prospectively collected on 500 participants in the Utah Psoriasis Initiative were used for the study. In response to a question assessing plaque thickness when disease was at its worst, 144 (28.8%) reported thick plaques, 123 (24.6%) reported thin plaques, and 233 (46.6%) reported intermediate thickness. For patients with "worst-ever" disease at enrollment (n=122), there was significant correlation of thickness between assessment by the patient and the physician (r=0.448, P-value 0.01). Thick plaques associated with male gender, increased body mass index, nail disease, psoriatic arthritis, larger plaques, more body sites, and greater total body surface area affected. Thin plaques associated with eczema, guttate psoriasis, and skin cancer. We suggest that this is preliminary evidence that plaque thickness is an easily measured trait that associates with other clinical features of psoriasis, and that stratification on this phenotype may be useful in further defining the genetic basis of this disease.

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