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Clin Exp Immunol. 1995 Feb;99(2):148-54.

IL-8/IL-8 receptor expression in psoriasis and the response to systemic tacrolimus (FK506) therapy.

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Pittsburgh Transplantation Institute, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2582.


Recently, the keratinocyte IL-8/IL-8 receptor (IL-8R) pathway has been implicated in the pathogenesis of psoriasis, and there is evidence that the potent macrolide immune suppressant tacrolimus (formerly FK506) can inhibit this pathway in vitro. In this study, determination of the expression of cytokine mRNAs in lesional skin of patients with active disease by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction revealed transcripts for IL-1 beta, tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), IL-6, IL-8, IL-8R, IL-10, interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), IL-2R and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), but not IL-2 or IL-4. IL-8 was the only cytokine expressed in affected skin of all patients but not in clinically normal skin of healthy subjects. In seven CD4+ T cell clones propagated from the lesional skin of an untreated psoriasis patient, IL-8 was expressed by the skin-derived T lymphocytes and not by feeder cells (irradiated autologous blood lymphocytes); IL-1 beta, IL-2, IL-6 and IL-10 were also expressed by some or all of the T cell clones. IL-8 mRNA was not detected in the skin of any patient after the start of systemic tacrolimus therapy; IL-1 beta, IL-6 and IFN-gamma transcripts were also reduced. By 12 weeks, the mean psoriasis area and severity index (PASI) had decreased from 18.8 to 3.8, a reduction of 80%. In the same post-treatment biopsies, however, message for IL-8R persisted. Estimation of circulating IL-8 levels by enzyme immunoassay showed that all patients with detectable IL-8 before treatment had decreased levels in response to treatment with tacrolimus; reductions in PASI scores were accompanied by decreases in IL-8 levels, that varied both in rate and extent. Partial relapse, which in a minority of patients followed the initial period of remission, and was precipitated by drug dose reduction, was accompanied by an increase in circulating IL-8. These findings add credence to the view that the IL-8/IL-8R autocrine/paracrine pathway may be important in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. They further suggest that interference with IL-8 production and/or that of other key chemokines may be an important mechanism underlying the therapeutic efficacy of tacrolimus, and other agents such as cyclosporin A, with similar molecular actions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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