Researchers Find Potential Psoriasis Therapeutic Target in B-Cells and Their Role in Inflammation

Researchers Find Potential Psoriasis Therapeutic Target in B-Cells and Their Role in Inflammation

Researchers focused on B-cells and their possible role in the inflammation characteristic of psoriasis and identified a protein that may constitute a potential therapeutic target to treat the disease.

The research study, “NFATc1 supports imiquimod-induced skin inflammation by suppressing IL-10 synthesis in B-cells,” was published in Nature Communications.

Psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease, affects 2 to 3 percent of the population, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. The cellular reaction leading to the pathogenesis of the disease involves several cell types, such as keratinocytes (KCs), dendritic cells (DCs), T lymphocytes and macrophages, among others. B-cells, a type of immune cell, are rarely detected in psoriatic skin and as a result, their role in the disease has not been thoroughly explored.

In this study, researchers focused on B-cells and their ability to control the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-10, thereby influencing the inflammatory process in the skin. The scientists believe these cells are indeed unexplored therapeutic targets for the treatment of psoriasis.

During the study, initiated by Prof. Matthias Goebeler, director of the University Hospital and Outpatient Clinic for Dermatology, Venerology and Allergology Würzburg, and Edgar Serfling, active senior professor in the Department of Molecular Pathology at the Pathological Institute of the University of Würzburg, researchers observed that the synthesis of anti-inflammatory IL-10 by B lymphocytes was reduced through the interaction with the protein “nuclear factor of activated T-cells” (NFATc1). The transcription factor inhibits the reading of the gene that encodes IL-10, which results in poorer control of the inflammation process.

The scientists also demonstrated this effect by eliminating the expression of the NFATc1 expression in B-cells, which supported the development of skin inflammation in mice, mediated by IL-10. Researchers believe that targeting NFATc1 induction in B-cells might constitute an interesting novel therapeutic approach to treat psoriasis, and possibly other autoimmune diseases characterized by excessive inflammation, in humans.

“By uncovering more details about the interaction, we could develop drugs that suppress the inflammatory processes in psoriasis even more specifically in the future,” the scientists said in a news release.

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Margarida graduated with a BS in Health Sciences from the University of Lisbon and a MSc in Biotechnology from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST-UL). She worked as a molecular biologist research associate at a Cambridge UK-based biotech company that discovers and develops therapeutic, fully human monoclonal antibodies.

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