The core network underlying psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form scales and red patches that are sometimes painful and itchy. Psoriasis is a common condition that can affect people of all ages, but it is most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 15 and 35.
We know that psoriasis is not contagious and not caused by poor hygiene. However, in most cases we do not know exactly where the condition comes from. The pathogenesis remains to be fully understood. This is complicated by the fact that there are many different types, including plaque, guttate, inverse and pustular psoriasis.
A gene module related to psoriasis severity
With the intention of finding out more about the underlying mechanisms in psoriasis, researchers have now identified a gene module that is related to local psoriasis severity. They collected skin tissue samples from 13 patients with psoriasis, 15 patients with psoriatic arthritis, and 12 patients with ankylosing spondylitis. They used high-throughput RNA-sequencing to analyze the gene expression in the samples and metagenomic sequencing to analyze the microbiome composition of the samples.
The results showed that lesional and non-lesional samples were significantly different in terms of their transcriptome profiles, with a major enrichment in neutrophil activation. The researchers identified a gene module that was associated with the severity of disease. They also found that certain bacteria were significantly correlated with the genes in this module. From this module, they found a core set of genes that was functionally involved in neutrophil activation, epidermal cell differentiation and response to bacteria. In this context, the transcription factor CRABP2 may act as a key player in the nuclear network.
By using co-expression gene networks, we identified a gene module that was associated with local psoriasis severity at the site of biopsy. From this module, we found a ‚core‘ set of genes that was functionally involved in neutrophil activation, epidermal cell differentiation and response to bacteria. Skin microbiome analysis revealed that the abundances of Enhydrobacter, Micrococcus and Leptotrichia were significantly correlated with the genes in core network.
Thus, the authors found that a core gene network, related to local disease severity and microbiome composition, plays a role in the inflammation and excess production of keratin in the skin of people with psoriasis.