Background: Previous research revealed heterogeneity in the perfusion intensity within clinically homogenous-Appearing plaques, without differences in erythema. In addition, an increased perfusion was found within the perilesional skin. This raises the question whether the heterogeneity in perfusion found both inside and outside a lesion influences the expression levels of genes and proteins involved in the pathogenesis of psoriasis.
Objectives: To correlate the perfusion intensity to mRNA and protein expression of genes associated with the pathogenesis of psoriasis and to visualize the dynamics of the perfusion intensity over time using laser Doppler perfusion imaging.
Methods: Fourteen patients with plaque psoriasis were included. The superficial microcirculation and clinical local scores (single usability metric, SUM, scores) were analysed in one representative lesion every 2 weeks. After 8 weeks 4 biopsies were taken, one from a highly perfused area (hotspot) and one from a low perfusion area (coldspot) of the lesional skin, one biopsy from the highly perfused perilesional skin and one from the distant uninvolved skin.
Results: Statistically significant differences in mRNA and protein expression, including IL-17 and TBX21/T-Bet, were found between hotspots and coldspots, and between the highly perfused perilesional and the uninvolved skin. Hotspots tend to remain on the same location during 8 weeks of follow-up.
Conclusions: Within homogenous-Appearing psoriatic plaques, there are remarkable differences in mRNA and protein levels, which are correlated with the perfusion intensity and can be detected by using laser Doppler perfusion imaging. In addition, differences in mRNA and protein expression between the highly perfused perilesional skin and the uninvolved skin were found, indicating that several biological changes occur well before clinical changes become manifest.
- Laser Doppler perfusion imaging
- Plaque heterogeneity
- Twente Optical Perfusion Camera