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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2007 October;142(5):479-88

Copyright © 2007 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Neuropeptides and psoriasis

Ryan C., Kirby B.

Department of Dermatology St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland


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Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin and its complex pathophysiology is not yet fully understood. It is a multifactorial disease mediated by T cells, dendritic cells and inflammatory cytokines. Intensive research has highlighted the role of neuropeptides and cutaneous neurogenic inflammation in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. It is thought that sensory nerves and their secretory products may act as a link between the nervous system and the immune response and that abnormalities in this network may give contribute to the development of psoriasis. Numerous reports of increased levels of nerve growth factor, vasoactive intestinal peptide and calcitonin gene-related peptide in lesional and nonlesional psoriatic skin support this theory. The resolution of psoriatic plaques in areas of denervated skin shows that intact nerves are necessary for the maintenance of psoriasis. Elevated stress levels are a well recognised trigger for exacerbations of psoriasis and neuropeptides may also play a role in this process. In this article we review what is known about neuropeptides and their role in psoriasis and postulate potential therapeutic options for the treatment of psoriasis based on this knowledge.

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