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J Invest Dermatol. 2011 Jul;131(7):1530-8. doi: 10.1038/jid.2011.60. Epub 2011 Apr 7.

Cutaneous denervation of psoriasiform mouse skin improves acanthosis and inflammation in a sensory neuropeptide-dependent manner.

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Department of Neurosciences, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


Nervous system involvement in psoriasis pathogenesis is supported by increases in nerve fiber numbers and neuropeptides in psoriatic skin and by reports detailing spontaneous plaque remission following nerve injury. Using the KC-Tie2 psoriasiform mouse model, we investigated the mechanisms by which nerve injury leads to inflammatory skin disease remission. Cutaneous nerves innervating dorsal skin of KC-Tie2 animals were surgically axotomized and beginning 1 day after denervation, CD11c(+) cell numbers decreased by 40% followed by a 30% improvement in acanthosis at 7 days and a 30% decrease in CD4(+) T-cell numbers by 10 days. Restoration of substance P (SP) signaling in denervated KC-Tie2 skin prevented decreases in CD11c(+) and CD4(+) cells, but had no effect on acanthosis; restoration of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) signaling reversed the improvement in acanthosis and prevented denervated-mediated decreases in CD4(+) cells. Under innervated conditions, small-molecule inhibition of SP in KC-Tie2 animals resulted in similar decreases to those observed following surgical denervation for cutaneous CD11c(+) and CD4(+) cell numbers; whereas small-molecule inhibition of CGRP resulted in significant reductions in CD4(+) cell numbers and acanthosis. These data demonstrate that sensory nerve-derived peptides mediate psoriasiform dendritic cell and T-cell infiltration and acanthosis and introduce targeting nerve-immunocyte/KC interactions as potential psoriasis therapeutic treatment strategies.

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