Skin-penetrating methotrexate alleviates imiquimod-induced psoriasiform dermatitis via decreasing IL-17-producing gamma delta T cells

Dashlkhumbe Byamba, Do Young Kim, Dae-Suk Kim, Tae-Gyun Kim, Hyunjoong Jee, Sung Hee Kim, Tae-Yoon Park, Sang-Hwa Yang, Sang-Kyou Lee, Min-Geol Lee
Experimental Dermatology 2014, 23 (7): 492-6
Accumulating evidence has shown that the Toll-like receptor 7 agonist imiquimod (IMQ) induces psoriasiform skin inflammation in mice and that this inflammation is dependent on the IL-23/IL-17 axis. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that the main source of IL-17 is not Th17 but is dermal gamma delta (γδ) T cells in mouse psoriasiform skin. Recent advances in the understanding of immunopathogenesis of psoriasis led to an alteration in the treatment paradigm to the use of highly efficacious biologics. However, their high cost impedes the extensive use of these agents. Thus, inexpensive and safe medications are still considered valuable. In this study, we introduce the therapeutic efficacy of a newly formulated methotrexate (MTX), a chemical conjugate of MTX with cell permeable peptide, for the treatment of psoriasis. Topically applied skin-penetrating (SP)-MTX reduced the psoriasiform skin phenomenon, epidermal thickness and infiltrating immune cells into the dermis. IL-17A-producing dermal γδ T cells in the cellular infiltrate that contribute IL-23/IL-17 axis were well abrogated by SP-MTX. Furthermore, SP-MTX had no toxic effects on liver, kidney or myeloid cells, unlike systemic administration of MTX. In conclusion, topically applied SP-MTX ameliorated psoriasiform skin inflammation in mice with the criteria of clinical phenomenon, histopathology and immunology, without inducing systemic toxic effects.

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