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PLoS One. 2017 Aug 4;12(8):e0182646. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182646. eCollection 2017.

GM-CSF in murine psoriasiform dermatitis: Redundant and pathogenic roles uncovered by antibody-induced neutralization and genetic deficiency.

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Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME, Project Group Translational Medicine & Pharmacology TMP, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Institute of Biochemistry I-Pathobiochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Department of Dermatology, Allergy, and Venereology, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany.
Division of Rheumatology, University Hospital Frankfurt, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is a pleiotropic, Th17-derived cytokine thought to critically contribute to the pathogenesis of diverse autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Treatment with monoclonal antibodies that block GM-CSF activity is associated with favorable therapeutic effects in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. We evaluated the role of GM-CSF as a potential target for therapeutic interference in psoriasis using a combined pharmacologic and genetic approach and the mouse model of imiquimod-induced psoriasiform dermatitis (IMQPD). Neutralization of murine GM-CSF by an anti-GM-CSF antibody ameliorated IMQPD. In contrast, genetic deficiency in GM-CSF did not alter the course of IMQPD, suggesting the existence of mechanisms compensating for chronic, but not acute, absence of GM-CSF. Further investigation uncovered an alternative pathogenic pathway for IMQPD in the absence of GM-CSF characterized by an expanded plasmacytoid dendritic cell population and release of IFNα and IL-22. This pathway was not activated in wild-type mice during short-term anti-GM-CSF treatment. Our investigations support the potential value of GM-CSF as a therapeutic target in psoriatic disease. The discovery of an alternative pathogenic pathway for psoriasiform dermatitis in the permanent absence of GM-CSF, however, suggests the need for monitoring during therapeutic use of long-term GM-CSF blockade.

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