Scientists linked a previously unknown skin cell type to psoriasis and dermatitis

Molecular biologists in Singapore have discovered skin immune cells of a previously unknown type that are related to the development of psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. An article on the topic appeared in the pages of the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

As one of the study leaders Kenji Kabashima noted, until recently, scientists had a poor understanding of exactly how immune cells, which are responsible for presenting antigens, affect the development of inflammatory skin diseases. New scientific work has clarified the functions of each subtype of such cells, bringing scientists closer to understanding the nature of dermatitis and psoriasis.

The scientists performed something like a genetic “census” of skin cells and found out what activity different DNA fragments exhibit in single cells in different parts of the skin. The analysis identified an unknown type of so-called dendritic cells that capture and present antigens and control the activity of different elements of skin immunity.

“The identified CD14+ DC3 cells produce IL1B and IL23A signaling molecules, which have already been associated with the development of psoriasis. This confirms our hypothesis that the new skin cell type is associated with triggering psoriasis, and also provides hope for new effective drugs for this disease as well as for atopic dermatitis,” Kabashima said.