National Psoriasis Foundation
Advertisement

Researchers discover reason for skin discoloration in psoriasis

It's a common frustration: Your psoriasis flare-up finally goes away and in its place remains a patch of discolored skin.

Researchers at The Rockefeller University have discovered a reason why – opening up opportunities for treatments for skin discoloration in psoriasis and skin conditions like eczema and acne.

It turns out that two immune system proteins, the cytokines called interleukin-17 (IL-17) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), known to cause the inflammation of psoriasis also are to blame for skin discoloration.

The researchers found that IL-17 and TNF-alpha are interfering with the production of melanocytes – cells that produce the pigment that gives skin color. IL-17 and TNF suppress melanin, or pigment, production. Both proteins also promote the formation of melanocyte clusters.

"This was very surprising," said Claire Q. Wang, a research associate in James Krueger's Laboratory of Investigative Dermatology, in a press release from Rockerfeller University. "Melanocytes are believed to only replicate in the initial growth stage of melanocyte tumors, including melanomas. Here, in psoriasis, their numbers were doubled, sometimes tripled, but this was noncancerous skin. This shows us that these cells are not as dormant in healthy individuals as scientists believe."

This finding helps scientists better understand what happens after a flare-up subsides.

"During a flare-up, there can be parts of skin with hypopigmentation — white spots," said Wang. "Then after it subsides, the spots turn dark. We think the increase in IL-17 and TNF induces this build-up of melanocytes, but prevents them from expressing the melanin until the inflammation settles down. Then the build-up is released, and the skin shows hyperpigmentation — dark spots.

The study was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

Advertisement


Did you enjoy this article? Want to read more?

Check out more from Psoriasis Advance »

 
Advertisement

 

Copyright © 1996-2013 National Psoriasis Foundation/USA

Any duplication, rebroadcast, republication or other use of content appearing on this website is prohibited without written permission of National Psoriasis Foundation. National Psoriasis Foundation does not endorse or accept any responsibility for the content of external websites.

National Psoriasis Foundation | 6600 SW 92nd Ave., Suite 300, Portland, OR 97223
getinfo@psoraisis.org | www.psoriasis.org

National Psoriasis FoundationNational Psoriasis Foundation Our Mission: To drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected.

CONTACT US

getinfo@psoriasis.org
800-723-9166

National Office:
6600 SW 92nd Ave., Ste. 300
Portland, OR 97223


Washington D.C. Office:
1800 Diagonal Rd., Ste. 360
Alexandria, VA 22314


Site Feedback »

Copyright © 1996-2014 National Psoriasis Foundation/USA

Any duplication, rebroadcast, republication or other use of content appearing on this website is prohibited without written permission of National Psoriasis Foundation.

The National Psoriasis Foundation does not endorse or accept any responsibility for the content of external websites.

The National Psoriasis Foundation does not endorse any specific treatments or medications for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Member of Community Health Charities National Health CouncilFour Star Charity Navigator Rating