8-methoxypsoralen plus ultraviolet A therapy acts via inhibition of the IL-23/Th17 axis and induction of Foxp3+ regulatory T cells involving CTLA4 signaling in a psoriasis-like skin disorder

Tej Pratap Singh, Michael P Schön, Katrin Wallbrecht, Kai Michaelis, Beate Rinner, Gerlinde Mayer, Ulrike Schmidbauer, Heimo Strohmaier, Xiao-Jing Wang, Peter Wolf
Journal of Immunology 2010 June 15, 184 (12): 7257-67
To elucidate the molecular action of 8-methoxypsoralen plus UVA (PUVA), a standard dermatological therapy, we used K5.hTGF-beta1 transgenic mice exhibiting a skin phenotype and cytokine abnormalities with strong similarities to human psoriasis. We observed that impaired function of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) and increased cytokine levels of the IL-23/Th17 pathway were responsible for the psoriatic phenotype in this mouse model. Treatment of K5.hTGF-beta1 transgenic mice with PUVA suppressed the IL-23/Th17 pathway, Th1 milieu, as well as transcription factors STAT3 and orphan nuclear receptor RORgammat. PUVA induced the Th2 pathway and IL-10-producing CD4+CD25+Foxp3+Tregs with disease-suppressive activity that was abolished by anti-CTLA4 mAb treatment. These findings were paralleled by macroscopic and microscopic clearance of the diseased murine skin. Anti-IL-17 mAb treatment also diminished the psoriatic phenotype of the mice. This indicated that both induced Tregs involving CTLA4 signaling and inhibition of the IL-23/Th17 axis are central for the therapeutic action of PUVA.

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