Psoriatic epidermal cells demonstrate increased numbers and function of non-Langerhans antigen-presenting cells

Ole Baadsgaard, Aditya K. Gupta, R. Stanley Taylor, Charles N. Ellis, John J. Voorhees, Kevin D. Cooper

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83 Scopus citations


The recent findings that the immunosuppressant cyclosporine A (CsA) improves psoriasis raises the possibility that cellular immune processes play a major role in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. We therefore investigated the phenotype and function of cells within psoriatic epidermis that can play a role in cellular immunologic reactivity. Double fluorescence microscopic studies with monoclonal antibodies of epidermal cells in suspension (EC) and of histologic sections demonstrated that involved psoriatic skin contained a significantly increased number of non-Langerhans cell T6-DR+ EC (4.9 + 2.1%) relative to uninvolved (0.3 ±0.1%), p < 0.01. This non-Langerhans cell population was comprised of DR+ monocytes, DR+ activated T lymphocytes, a few DR+RFD1+ antigen-presenting cells (APC), and DR+ ke ratinocytes. Langerhans cell (LC) levels in EC suspension were not different between involved and uninvolved psoriatic epidermis. Functional studies demonstrated that involved psoriatic epidermal cells had an increased capacity to induce T-cell activation and proliferation relative to uninvolved EC (p< 0.04). This increased APC activity was due to the non-LC T6-DR+HLe1+ APC population and not to DR+ keratinocytes. These results demonstrate that involved psoriatic epidermal cells contain both an increased number and function of antigen-presenting cells. The pathogenetic mechanisms in psoriasis may be related to ongoing cellular immune responses in the skin, and the effect of CsA may be mediated through a suppressive effect on the enhanced antigen-presenting cell activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-195
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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