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Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis: Newly Discovered Gene Indicates Risk!

Recent Publications: Genetic Basis of Psoriasis

It is the nature of things: on days of action like World Psoriasis Day on October 29th of every year) reports about the topic in question and new articles and scientific studies start to pile up. 

The texture of a tree - as an allegory for the skin in case of psoriasis

For example, several research reports on the subject of psoriasis have appeared in the journal Nature Genetics in the last few weeks; as usual, they first appeared online. Whether the approach of World Psoriasis Day was the trigger for this advance publication remains an open question. The results of a Chinese study, a study from the USA and Canada, and a very comprehensive German study all presented in Nature Genetics, which I have linked to below, are generally interesting and newsworthy.

All three studies are concerned with the genetic basis of the autoimmune disease psoriasis. The German study involved primary author Eva Ellinghaus, principal investigator Prof. Michael Weichenthal, and geneticist Prof. André Franke from the Institute for Clinical Molecular Biology at the Christian Albrecht University in Kiel (Institut für Klinische Molekularbiologie, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel), as well as over 30 other researchers from three countries.

Gene Variations in TRAF31P2: Trigger for Psoriasis

It has become an accepted fact that in addition to numerous external factors like certain infections or stress, a genetic component also plays a significant role in the development of psoriasis. Over the last few years, several gene variants have been identified as having an influence over the risk of psoriasis.

The German study by Eva Ellinghaus et al. ran for over two and a half years. Over 14,500 participants were recruited: around 6,500 psoriasis patients and about 8,000 healthy individuals. – The result: a gene variant that increases the probability of developing psoriasis was found in the gene TRAF31P2.

Based on the German study, the recent results of a study in China (Lian-Dan Sun et al.), and results from North America (Philip E. Stuart et al.) a total of 25 such genes or gene variants have now been identified.

In a news release, senior physician Prof. Michael Weichenthal from Dermatology Department of Kiel University (Hautklinik Universität Kiel) explains that these current studies are in no way just esoteric research. According to Michael Weichental, clarification of the causes behind psoriasis represents “very significant progress toward tailored treatment for this difficult autoimmune disease”.

World Psoriasis Day – What is It?

In the mean time, World Psoriasis Day is being recognized for the seventh time, organized and initiated by the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA). The purpose for this day of action is – clearly, since this is the purpose of all such days! – to increase awareness of the autoimmune disease psoriasis.Logo of World Psoiasis Day

In recognition of World Psoriasis Day, the individual member organizations of the IFPA around the world educate the public about the causes and mechanism of psoriasis, symptoms of this autoimmune disease, diagnosis of suspected psoriasis, and treatment for psoriasis. Organizations in Germany include the German Association of Dermatology (Deutsche Dermatologische Gesellschaft, DDG), the Professional Association of German Dermatologists (Berufsverband Deutscher Dermatologen, BVDD), the Regional Psoriasis Networks in Germany (Regionale Psoriasisnetze in Deutschland, PsoNet), and the German Psoriasis Alliance (Deutsche Psoriasis Bund, DPB). You can find out which national organizations are active in the area of psoriasis and on World Psoriasis Day by consulting the list of individual organizations/IFPA member associations, in the right side column of the World Psoriasis Day Website.

Psoriatic Arthritis – Chronic Inflammation of the Joints with Psoriasis

Psoriasis is one of the most common skin diseases; in Germany alone there are over two million patients. This serious disease truly gets under the skin: psoriasis is a chronic inflammation over the entire body. It not only leads to changes in the skin; it can also affect the joints!

In this case, it is referred to as “psoriatic arthritis” (PsA), which sometimes is very difficult to differentiate from rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is often overlooked that in addition to skin problems and possible joint pain, PsA involves an increased risk of heart attack or stroke in patients.

Author of this article:  Tobias Stolzenberg

  • Ellinghaus E, Ellinghaus D, Stuart PE, Nair RP, Debrus S, Raelson JV, Belouchi M, Fournier H, Reinhard C, Ding J, Li Y, Tejasvi T, Gudjonsson J, Stoll SW, Voorhees JJ, Lambert S, Weidinger S, Eberlein B, Kunz M, Rahman P, Gladman DD, Gieger C, Wichmann HE, Karlsen TH, Mayr G, Albrecht M, Kabelitz D, Mrowietz U, Abecasis GR, Elder JT, Schreiber S, Weichenthal M, Franke A. Genome-wide association study identifies a psoriasis susceptibility locus at TRAF3IP2. Letter. Nat Genet. 2010 Oct 17. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1038/ng.689 – free article download, accessed 28/10/2010 
  • Hüffmeier U, Uebe S, Ekici AB, Bowes J, Giardina E, Korendowych E, Juneblad K, Apel M, McManus R, Ho P, Bruce IN, Ryan AW, Behrens F, Lascorz J, Böhm B, Traupe H, Lohmann J, Gieger C, Wichmann HE, Herold C, Steffens M, Klareskog L, Wienker TF, Fitzgerald O, Alenius GM, McHugh NJ, Novelli G, Burkhardt H, Barton A, Reis A. Common variants at TRAF3IP2 are associated with susceptibility to psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis. Letter. Nat Genet. 2010 Oct 17. [Epub ahead of print] – free full text letter, accessed 28/10/2010
  • Stuart PE, Nair RP, Ellinghaus E, Ding J, Tejasvi T, Gudjonsson JE, Li Y, Weidinger S, Eberlein B, Gieger C, Wichmann HE, Kunz M, Ike R, Krueger GG, Bowcock AM, Mrowietz U, Lim HW, Voorhees JJ, Abecasis GR, Weichenthal M, Franke A, Rahman P, Gladman DD, Elder JT. Genome-wide association analysis identifies three psoriasis susceptibility loci. Nat Genet. 2010 Oct 17. [Epub ahead of print] – full text letter accessed 27/10/2010
  • Sun LD, Cheng H, Wang ZX, Zhang AP, Wang PG, Xu JH, Zhu QX, Zhou HS, Ellinghaus E, Zhang FR, Pu XM, Yang XQ, Zhang JZ, Xu AE, Wu RN, Xu LM, Peng L, Helms CA, Ren YQ, Zhang C, Zhang SM, Nair RP, Wang HY, Lin GS, Stuart PE, Fan X, Chen G, Tejasvi T, Li P, Zhu J, Li ZM, Ge HM, Weichenthal M, Ye WZ, Zhang C, Shen SK, Yang BQ, Sun YY, Li SS, Lin Y, Jiang JH, Li CT, Chen RX, Cheng J, Jiang X, Zhang P, Song WM, Tang J, Zhang HQ, Sun L, Cui J, Zhang LJ, Tang B, Huang F, Qin Q, Pei XP, Zhou AM, Shao LM, Liu JL, Zhang FY, Du WD, Franke A, Bowcock AM, Elder JT, Liu JJ, Yang S, Zhang XJ. Association analyses identify six new psoriasis susceptibility loci in the Chinese population. Letter. Nat Genet. 2010 Oct 17. [Epub ahead of print] – abstract of the letter
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the picture by Andrew C. is take from stock.xchng.


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  1. post scriptum: This morning I found this posting about predicting PsA development on the “Psoriasis Doctors Blog“, published April 2010: – a blog with dermatologist-recommended psoriasis information!

    Psoriatic Arthritis Development May be Predicted by Psoriasis Severity and Family History
    Posted on April 26, 2010 by Dr. Mark

    Psoriatric arthritis is more likely to develop among people with a family history of psoriatic arthritis and a greater greater maximum body surface (BSA) affected by psoriasis. This was the conclusion of a study published in the April issue of the The Journal of Dermatology “Risk factors associated with having psoriatic arthritis in patients with cutaneous psoriasis“.

    The study recruited 400 people with psoriasis attending a psoriasis clinic in Singapore. 134 (33.5%) of the participants also had psoriatic arthritis.

    The researcher found that 25% of participants with a family history of psoriatic arthritis were 20.5 times more likely to also have psoriatic arthritis than those without a family history. Previous episodes of severe psoriasis, as defined by the body surface area (BSA) affected by psoriasis and documented in previous medical records, was also a risk factor for developing psoriatic arthritis.

    Psoriatic arthritis was not significantly associated with sex, race, age of onset of psoriasis, a family history of psoriasis, smoking and alcohol consumption.

    from Psoriasis Doctors Blog:

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