Sunday, February 1, 2009

Genetic basis of psoriasis revealed.....

As we know psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body's immune cells mistakenly attack the skin, is becoming more problematic with nearly 10 to 30 percent of patients (an estimated 7 million people suffer from psoriasis in US) with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. which occurs when inflammation attacks the joints, causing pain and disability. Thanks to Dr. Anne Bowcock, a professor of genetics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louisand and his group have made significant gains in understanding the genetic basis of psoriasis, a chronic skin condition that can be debilitating in some patients.

This basic understanding of psoriasis is of significance becoz of the fact that, now one will be
able target treatments to psoriasis patients based on the genetic alterations that have contributed to their disease. The two groups (Bowcock and her colleagues in Spain) found that the absence of two skin genes - LCE3B and LCE3C - increases the risk of psoriasis.

Both genes normally are activated after an injury to the skin. The researches suspect the absence of the genes could lead to an inappropriate immune response, which may cause the inflammation that is a hallmark of the disease. Until now, all of the genes linked to psoriasis have been involved in the immune system. But psoriasis is a disease of the immune system and the skin, and it makes sense that we would eventually find genes in the skin that are involved in the disease.

Though the new variants uncovered by the researchers each make only a small contribution to the overall genetic risk of the psoriasis, its a good beginning. This finding is important, because newly discovered variants have been associated with other inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's disease and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Hope additional studies will help to tease apart the ways in which these diseases are connected at the level of DNA and this information will also aid in the search for more targeted drugs that can zero in on particular genetic defects that cause the diseases. More....

For Psoriasis picture, see the slide no., 4 of slide show of skin problems.

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