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Cytokine. 2015 Jun;73(2):342-50. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2014.12.014. Epub 2015 Jan 10.

Cytokines in psoriasis.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
Department of Dermatology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. Electronic address:


Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin disease with an incompletely understood etiology. The disease is characterized by red, scaly and well-demarcated skin lesions formed by the hyperproliferation of epidermal keratinocytes. This hyperproliferation is driven by cytokines secreted by activated resident immune cells, an infiltrate of T cells, dendritic cells and cells of the innate immune system, as well as the keratinocytes themselves. Psoriasis has a strong hereditary character and has a complex genetic background. Genome-wide association studies have identified polymorphisms within or near a number of genes encoding cytokines, cytokine receptors or elements of their signal transduction pathways, further implicating these cytokines in the psoriasis pathomechanism. A considerable number of inflammatory cytokines have been shown to be elevated in lesional psoriasis skin, and the serum concentrations of a subset of these also correlate with psoriasis disease severity. The combined effects of the cytokines found in psoriasis lesions likely explain most of the clinical features of psoriasis, such as the hyperproliferation of keratinocytes, increased neovascularization and skin inflammation. Thus, understanding which cytokines play a pivotal role in the disease process can suggest potential therapeutic targets. A number of cytokines have been therapeutically targeted with success, revolutionizing treatment of this disease. Here we review a number of key cytokines implicated in the pathogenesis of psoriasis.


Cytokine; Inflammation; Interleukin; Psoriasis; Skin

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