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Genetic activity linked to psoriasis

(HealthDayNews) -- Researchers have linked psoriasis to genetic activity involved with the development of the vascular system, a discovery that could lead to additional therapies for treating psoriasis.

psoriasis is a lifelong skin disease that occurs when faulty signals in the immune system cause skin cells to regenerate too quickly. Extra skin cells build up on the skin's surface, forming red, flaky, scaly lesions that can itch, crack, bleed and be extremely painful.

previous research has shown that a gene that regulates vascular development, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), is found in high levels in psoriatic skin lesions.

Now British physicians have found certain variations of the VEGF gene occur with greater frequency in some people with psoriasis. Drugs that block the activity of VEGF could one day be used to treat psoriasis, the researchers conclude.

The study was conducted by Dr. Helen S. Young and her colleagues at the University of Manchester. It appears in the Jan. 3 issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.


Genetics of Psoriasis: Basic Facts

Among the benefits expected to derive from the Human Genome Project is the identification of specific genes associated with specific diseases. While there is always hope that identification will be as simple as "one gene, one disease", this is unlikely to be the case for most major diseases that have a genetic component. For most diseases, including psoriasis, there are probably multiple genes involved in producing the sequence of events that results in the expression of disease. Complicating the picture still further is the probability that genes found to be associated with psoriasis may or may not cause psoriasis in an individual person, depending on the activity of the genes in relation to one another. The activity of genes in relation to one another is often determined by the pattern in which they were inherited from parents.

Is Psoriasis a Disease with Genetic Predisposition?
Numerous studies over many years support the finding that genetic predisposition has a major role in the pathogenesis (development of the disease processes) of psoriasis. Genetic predisposition means an inherited tendency to develop the disease. Genetic predisposition does not mean a 100 percent guarantee that the disease will appear; other initiating factors such as injury of infection may act together with genetic predisposition to set the disease process in motion.

Supporting evidence for genetic predisposition includes:

There is a higher-than-average incidence of psoriasis in relatives of people with psoriasis, indicating "familial tendency" to develop the disease; however, in some people with psoriasis no family history is evident.

There is an increased incidence of psoriasis in children when one or both parents has psoriasis.

In studies of identical and nonindentical twins, psoriasis is much more likely to appear in both identical twins than in both no identical twins, a finding that also confirms that more than one gene must be inherited to establish genetic predisposition for psoriasis.

There is a higher than expected frequency of certain white cell antigens (Class I human leucocyte antigens or HLAs) on cells of people with psoriasis and their close relatives; this finding also supports psoriasis inheritability and also suggests that the gene(s) involved in psoriasis may be on the same chromosome that holds the genes for HLA. There are many types of HLA in the HLA complex, and studies have shown that HLA type may be associated in some degree with timing of disease onset, type of psoriasis, and disease severity

While the genetics of psoriasis remain to be worked out in detail, much is already known about patterns of inheritability. Persons with psoriasis who are worried about "passing it on" to children may wish to ask their dermatologist for genetic counselling.

Source: Psoriasis Net

Researchers may be one step closer to determining the role of genetics in psoriasis, a chronic skin disease of scaling and inflammation. It is also possible that the defective regulation could be affecting other cell types such as skin cells known as keratinocytes.

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Psoriasis is a common skin disease that causes raised red skin with thick silvery scales.


Vitiligo is a disorder in which white patches of skin appear on the body

hair loss

Hair loss usually develops gradually and may be patchy or diffuse


Acne is a disorder of the hair follicles and sebaceous oil glands that leads to skin infections


Inflammation of the skin, often a rash, swelling, pain, itching, cracking. Can be caused by an irritant or allergen

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