In psoriasis, an IL-17–mediated inflammatory skin disease, skin lesions resolve with therapy, but often recur in the same locations when therapy is discontinued. We propose that residual T cell populations in resolved psoriatic lesions represent the pathogenic T cells of origin in this disease. Utilizing high-throughput screening (HTS) of the T cell receptor (TCR) and immunostaining, we found that clinically resolved psoriatic lesions contained oligoclonal populations of T cells that produced IL-17A in both resolved and active psoriatic lesions. Putative pathogenic clones preferentially utilized particular Vβ and Vα subfamilies. We identified 15 TCRβ and 4 TCRα antigen receptor sequences shared between psoriasis patients and not observed in healthy controls or other inflammatory skin conditions. To address the relative roles of αβ versus γδ T cells in psoriasis, we carried out TCR/δ HTS. These studies demonstrated that the majority of T cells in psoriasis and healthy skin are αβ T cells. γδ T cells made up 1% of T cells in active psoriasis, less than 1% in resolved psoriatic lesions, and less than 2% in healthy skin. All of the 70 most frequent putative pathogenic T cell clones were αβ T cells. In summary, IL-17–producing αβ T cell clones with psoriasis-specific antigen receptors exist in clinically resolved psoriatic skin lesions. These cells likely represent the disease-initiating pathogenic T cells in psoriasis, suggesting that lasting control of this disease will require suppression of these resident T cell populations.
Tiago R. Matos, John T. O’Malley, Elizabeth L. Lowry, David Hamm, Ilan R. Kirsch, Harlan S. Robins, Thomas S. Kupper, James G. Krueger, Rachael A. Clark
Oligoclonal populations of T cells are present in clinically resolved psoriatic skin lesions.