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J Dermatol Sci. 2009 May;54(2):99-105. doi: 10.1016/j.jdermsci.2009.01.003. Epub 2009 Mar 4.

Increased expression of IL-12p70 and IL-23 by multiple dendritic cell and macrophage subsets in plaque psoriasis.

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Department of Dermatology, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, 3010 Bern, Switzerland.



Psoriasis is a chronic immune-mediated skin disease, in which interleukins 12 and 23 have been postulated to play a critical role. However, the cellular source of these cytokines in psoriatic lesions are still poorly defined and their relative contribution in inducing skin inflammation has been discussed controversially.


To investigate immunoreactivity of the bioactive forms of IL-12 and IL-23 in plaque psoriasis and to characterize the dendritic cell (DC) and macrophage subsets responsible for the production of these cytokines.


Immunohistochemistry was performed on normal skin (n=11) as well as non-lesional (n=11) and lesional (n=11) skin of patients with plaque psoriasis using monoclonal antibodies targeting the bioactive forms of IL-12 (IL-12p70) and IL-23 (IL-23p19/p40) on serial cryostat sections using the alkaline phosphatase-antialkaline phosphatase. Co-localization of IL-12 and IL-23 with different dendritic cells and macrophage cell markers (CD1a, CD11c, CD14, CD32, CD68, CD163, CD208/DC-LAMP) was performed using double immunofluorescence staining.


Immunoreactivity for IL-12 and IL-23 was significantly enhanced in lesional psoriatic skin as compared to non-lesional and normal skin. No difference was observed between IL-12 and IL-23 immunoreactivity in any skin types. Both IL-12 and IL-23 immunoreactivity was readily detected mainly in CD11c+, CD14+, CD32+, CD68+ and some CD163+, DC-LAMP+ cells. IL-12 and occasionally IL-23 were also found in some CD1a+ dendritic cells. In addition, an enhanced expression mainly of IL-23 was observed in keratinocytes.


Bioactive forms of IL-12 and IL-23 are highly expressed in various DC and macrophage subsets and their marked in situ production suggest that both cytokines have crucial pathogenic role in psoriasis.

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