Summary Background The most characteristic change in psoriasis vulgaris is markedly increased, persistent keratinocyte proliferation. The underlying mechanism of excessive epidermal growth is controversial. We previously found and reported that T-cadherin was expressed in keratinocytes and confined to the basal layer of mouse and human skin. Invasive cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma showed a loss of T-cadherin expression. Another study showed that T-cadherin was a negative growth regulator of epidermal growth factor in T-cadherin transfectant neuroblastoma cells. Objectives To obtain insight into the role of T-cadherin in keratinocyte proliferation and to investigate further the pathogenesis of psoriasis vulgaris, we examined the expression of T-cadherin, as well as E- and P-cadherin, in psoriasis vulgaris. Methods Four untreated active psoriatic skin samples from psoriasis vulgaris patients and four normal human skin samples from plastic surgery were collected, cryosectioned and immunohistochemically stained by antihuman T-, P- and E-cadherin antibodies. Further, the immunofluorescence intensities of T- and P-cadherin on the basal layer of the epidermis were quantitatively measured by the histogram function of LSM 510 software installed in a Zeiss laser scanning confocal microscope. The data were statistically analysed by Student's t-test. Results It was observed that T-cadherin was weakly and discontinuously expressed on the basal layer of psoriatic skin, while it was intensively expressed on all basal keratinocytes in normal human skin. In contrast, P-cadherin was strongly expressed throughout the entire epidermal layer in psoriatic skin samples, although its expression is restricted to the basal cell layer in normal human skin. There were no obvious differences in E-cadherin expression between normal human skin and psoriatic skin. Statistical analyses showed that the immunofluorescence intensity of T-cadherin in the basal cell layer of psoriatic skin (35 ± 9·08) was significantly decreased compared with that in normal human skin (131·75 ± 3·49, P = 2·46 × 10−6). There was a significant increase (P = 0·00139) in the immunofluorescence intensity of P-cadherin in the basal layer of psoriatic skin (68·25 ± 12·13) compared with normal human skin (26 ± 4·90). Conclusions The present study demonstrates that there is downregulation of T-cadherin expression and upregulation of P-cadherin expression in psoriatic skin, which are considered to be involved in the hyperproliferation of keratinocytes in psoriasis vulgaris.
Department of Dermatology, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, 54 Kawahara-cho, Shogo-in, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8317, Japan 2:
Department of Pathology, Kochi Medical School, Kochi, Japan