Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease resulting from the dysregulated interplay between keratinocytes and infiltrating immune cells. We report on a psoriasis-like disease model, which is induced by the transfer of CD4+CD45RBhiCD25– cells to pathogen-free scid/scid mice. Psoriasis-like lesions had elevated levels of antimicrobial peptide and proinflammatory cytokine mRNA. Also, similar to psoriasis, disease progression in this model was dependent on the p40 common to IL-12 and IL-23. To investigate the role of IL-22, a Th17 cytokine, in disease progression, mice were treated with IL-22–neutralizing antibodies. Neutralization of IL-22 prevented the development of disease, reducing acanthosis (thickening of the skin), inflammatory infiltrates, and expression of Th17 cytokines. Direct administration of IL-22 into the skin of normal mice induced both antimicrobial peptide and proinflammatory cytokine gene expression. Our data suggest that IL-22, which acts on keratinocytes and other nonhematopoietic cells, is required for development of the autoreactive Th17 cell–dependent disease in this model of skin inflammation. We propose that IL-22 antagonism might be a promising therapy for the treatment of human psoriasis.
Hak-Ling Ma, Spencer Liang, Jing Li, Lee Napierata, Tom Brown, Stephen Benoit, Mayra Senices, Davinder Gill, Kyriaki Dunussi-Joannopoulos, Mary Collins, Cheryl Nickerson-Nutter, Lynette A. Fouser, Deborah A. Young