August 23, 2017

The underlying mechanisms that lead to psoriasis

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that is characterized by itchy, scaly skin plaques. The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, however, more and more evidence suggests that the immune system is chronically stimulated causing an overproduction of cytokines that maintains an inflammatory environment.

According to a new study published in the journal International Immunology, researchers have discovered more evidence that a cytokine called IL-17A is especially critical in in the pathogenesis of psoriasis.

In this study, researchers cultured normal keratinocytes with a mixture of six different cytokines known to be involved in psoriasis. As a result, they found that it caused the expression of psoriasis-related genes. The research team identified a group of psoriasis-related genes in keratinocytes that are regulated by IL-17A. One of these genes in particular, called NFKBIZ, was found to have a significant role in the IL-17A pathway. This gene encodes a protein that plays a well-known role in regulating the body’s immune response to infection.

What appears to happen with most autoimmune conditions is there are multiple triggers chronically stimulating the immune system over a long period of time in multiple ways and our immune system gets into overloaded, overwhelmed state and loses its ability to function.

If we know what causes the immune system to attack itself and we know some of the triggers for what causes a malfunction in the immune system, we can successful treat these conditions.

There are different autoimmune diseases within all specialties and all of these are looked at differently, however, they all have the same common triggers. Therefore, we can take a similar approach in treating all autoimmune conditions.

Nutrients to consider

There are only a few natural products that have demonstrated the wide range of protective properties as curcumin. It provides anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant effects that modulate cytokine and chemokine production and as a result balances the Th-1 and Th-2 T helper cells further downstream.

Glucosamine is a derivative of glucose which can be converted in cells to N-acetyl glucosamine (GlcNAc). This novel form of glucosamine has demonstrated that it acts as an immunosuppressive agent through a variety of mechanisms. Glucosamine can suppress the activation of T-cells and dendritic cells which are two crucial cells involved in the immune response. In one study when GlcNAc was used in children with chronic inflammatory bowel disease, biopsies revealed histological improvements as well as restoration of the epithelial barrier (i.e., repairing leaky-gut).

ParActin is a branded botanical that have very unique immune modulating properties. It is a standardized special extract of Andrographis. In low doses (25-30mg) it actually acts as an immune stimulant, but at higher doses (150-500mg) it activates the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) nuclear receptor. When activated, it not only stimulates the expression of genes involved in energy homeostasis, but also key regulators of the immune and inflammatory responses.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN

Source: Muromoto R, Hirao T, Tawa K, Hirashima K, Kon S, Kitai Y, Matsuda T. IL-17A plays a central role in the expression of psoriasis signature genes through the induction of IκB-ζ in keratinocytes. International Immunology. March 3, 2016.

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