In addition to being T lymphocyte-driven, psoriasis may be due in part to abnormal integrin expression. Normal-appearing (uninvolved) skin from psoriatic patients was examined to determine whether altered fibronectin or its receptor expression is detectable before development of psoriatic lesions. In contrast to skin from normal subjects, we detect by immunofluorescence the abnormal presence of plasma fibronectin in the basal cell layer of the epidermis of psoriatic uninvolved skin. Furthermore, increased fibronectin exposure superinduces the in vitro cell cycle induction and expansion of psoriatic nonlesional keratinocytes in response to a cocktail of T cell lymphokines. Fibronectin alone also appeared to increase cell cycle entry among uninvolved but not normal keratinocytes. Concordantly, the alpha5 integrin fibronectin receptor, but not alpha2 or alpha3, is overexpressed in the in vivo nonlesional psoriatic epidermis. The involvement of alpha5beta1 in the early outgrowth of clonogenic keratinocytes in the ex vivo culture was demonstrated by the ability of anti-alpha5 mAb to inhibit keratinocyte growth on fibronectin. Thus, the fibronectin receptor appears to be one of the components required for the development of the hyperresponsiveness of psoriatic keratinocytes to signals for proliferation provided by lymphokines produced by intralesional T lymphocytes in psoriasis.
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