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Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2006 Oct-Dec;19(4):751-60.

VEGF is likely a key factor in the link between inflammation and angiogenesis in psoriasis: results of an immunohistochemical study.

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Clinica Dermatologica, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy.


Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease, characterized by epidermal hyperplasia, inflammation, angiogenesis and vascular remodelling. An immunohistochemical study on fifteen cryosections of psoriatic skin was performed using antibodies against VEGF, HIF1-alpha, CD34, Factor VIII, MMP-2, MMP-9, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2. Psoriatic skin showed a diffuse VEGF positive staining (13.15+/-6.6), while no expression was observed in normal epidermis. No or faint HIF-1alpha immunostaining was detected in healthy skin, while in psoriatic skin HIF-1alpha was diffusely expressed. A positive correlation between HIF-1alpha and VEGF was reported in psoriatic skin (r= 0.644; p=0.010). In psoriatic sections CD34 expression was significantly higher in respect to control skin (19.15+/-12.61 vs 3.0+/-0.23; p= 0.04), factor VIII immunostaining also demonstrated a significant increased development of the microvasculature in comparison with healthy skin (18.39+/-8.16 vs 7.4+/-0.20; p= 0.033). Total MMP-2 expression of healthy skin (30+/-2.26) was significantly lower in respect to the MMP-2 psoriatic skin (71.5+/-4.13; p= 0.0001) and a positive correlation was observed between VEGF and MMP-2 in psoriatic patients (r= 0.688; p= 0.046). In psoriatic skin MMP-9 expression was significantly increased in comparison to control skin (31+/-3.3 vs 8+/-6.1; p=0.007). All cases of psoriatic skin tissue showed that TIMP-2 and TIMP-1 expression statistically decreased in psoriatic skin (respectively 11+/-1.2 and 12+/-1.5) in comparison with healthy skin (respectively 15+/-3.2 and 53+/-3.8; p=0.0001). In conclusion, we observed that VEGF overexpression correlated with HIF-1alpha and MMP-2 expression, underlining the role of VEGF in psoriasis as a key factor in the link between inflammation and angiogenesis.

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