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BMC Dermatol. 2009 May 29;9:5. doi: 10.1186/1471-5945-9-5.

HLA-Cw*0602 associates with a twofold higher prevalence of positive streptococcal throat swab at the onset of psoriasis: a case control study.

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Dermatology Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.



The influence of streptococcal infections in the pathogenesis of psoriasis is not yet understood. In vitro data suggest that streptococcal factors influence T-cell function in psoriasis in a HLA-dependent manner, but studies designed to measure the HLA-C/Streptococci interaction are lacking. In the present study, we hypothesized that there is a statistical interaction between the result of streptococcal throat cultures and the presence of the HLA-Cw*0602 allele in psoriasis patients.


We performed a case control study using the "Stockholm Psoriasis Cohort" consisting of patients consecutively recruited within 12 months of disease onset (Plaque psoriasis = 439, Guttate psoriasis = 143), matched to healthy controls (n = 454) randomly chosen from the Swedish Population Registry. All individuals underwent physical examination including throat swabs and DNA isolation for HLA-Cw*0602 genotyping. The prevalence of positive streptococcal throat swabs and HLA-Cw*0602 was compared between patients and controls and expressed as odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals. Associations were evaluated separately for guttate and plaque psoriasis by Fisher's exact test.


Regardless of disease phenotype, the prevalence of positive streptococcal throat swabs in HLA-Cw*0602 positive patients was twice the prevalence among HLA-Cw*0602 negative patients (OR = 5.8 C.I. = 3.57-9.67, p < 0.001), while no difference was observed among Cw*0602 positive versus negative controls. The corresponding odds ratios for the guttate and plaque psoriasis phenotypes were 3.5 (CI = 1.5-8.7, p = 0.01) and 2.3 (CI = 1.0-5.1, p = 0.02) respectively.


These findings suggest that among HLA-Cw*0602 positive psoriasis patients, streptococci may contribute to the onset or exacerbation of the inflammatory process independent of the disease phenotype. However, studies on the functional interaction between HLA-C and streptococcal factors are needed.

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