Protein Stimulation Provides Some Relief for Psoriasis Patients

JUNE 23, 2014
Adam Hochron
Patients with psoriasis could see relief from their condition following the results of a study that examined the impact of the stimulation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR).

In a study published by the Cell Press in the Immunity journal, the stimulation of the protein appeared to show the inflammation of Psoriasis suppressed in patients. The study did note that there are several factors that can lead to an increase in symptoms including components of tobacco smoke.

Senior study author Brigitta Stockinger of MRC National Institute for Medical Research in London said the results were promising in providing some relief for patients.

“Currently the focus for therapeutic intervention in psoriasis is on modulating the activity of immune cells,” she said. “However, our study suggests that molecules found in skin cells also play an important role in the disease.”

The study was conducted using patients of European descent at the Psoriasis Center at the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, Germany. Skin biopsies were taken from patients undergoing plastic surgery procedures at Guys and St. Thomas' Hospital in London. 

Stocking said the study used skin biopsies from psoriasis patients where the protein was triggered by a compound from a chemical reaction to UV light exposure.

Patients who had the protein triggered showed a reduction in inflammation while those who did not have the triggering saw an increase in inflammation. Stockinger said the protein in skin cells rather than immune cells is important in working to reduce inflammation in patients.

“Because available treatments for psoriasis are not always effective, it might be particularly useful to explore combination therapy with drugs directly targeting the immune system together with different ways of stimulating the AhR pathway,” she noted. “The focus of our ongoing study will be to test whether this combination approach might give added improvement to current therapies."

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