Recent evidence points to the T helper type 17 (Th17) subset as key in the pathogenesis of psoriasis, but cells of this type in lesions remain to be fully characterized. Here we isolated, enumerated, functionally tested and clonotyped the CD4+ Th cell population ex vivo from lesional biopsies and paired peripheral blood samples from psoriasis patients. Th17 cells were over-represented dramatically in lesions from all patients, representing 49–93% of CD4+ Th cells compared with 3–18% in blood. Most lesional Th17 cells produced interleukin (IL)-17A ex vivo without further stimulation and expressed the CD45RO+ phenotype characteristic of activated or memory cells. There was no increase in ‘natural’ [CD25hiforkhead box protein 3 (FoxP3+)] regulatory T cells in lesions versus peripheral blood, but there was enrichment of ‘induced’ IL-10+ regulatory T cell numbers in biopsies from some patients. The lesional Th17 cells exhibited a bias in T cell receptor Vβ chain usage, suggestive of specific expansion by antigen. The therapeutic challenge is to overcome the dominance of overwhelming numbers of such antigen-specific Th17 cells in psoriatic lesions.
- T cells
- clonal expansion
- regulatory T cell subsets
- T helper type 17 cell
Lewis, B. J., Rajpara, S., Haggart, A. M., Wilson, H. M., Barker, R. N., & Ormerod, A. D. (2013). Predominance of activated, clonally expanded T helper type 17 cells within the CD4+ T cell population in psoriatic lesions. Clinical and Experimental Immunology, 173(1), 38-46. https://doi.org/10.1111/cei.12086