Psoriasis on a man’s hand: drugs against the skin disease that block the messenger substance interleukin-12 are probably counterproductive, as a new study shows. (Archive image)
Psoriasis, also known as psoriasis, is an inflammatory and hereditary skin disease. There is no cure, but medication is available to treat the symptoms, which manifest as severe itching and red spots covered with silvery scales.
New drugs aim to block only the immune messenger compound interleukin-23 (IL-23), while older drugs block both IL-23 and IL-12. Clinical studies suggest that the new drugs work better.
The researchers working with Burkhard Becher from the University of Zurich now deciphered the underlying molecular mechanisms that could explain this different effectiveness. They report on the results in the journal “Science Immunology”.
According to this, the messenger substance IL-12 prevents the horn-forming skin cells from multiplying excessively – and thus helps to alleviate the inflammation that is characteristic of psoriasis. In addition, this messenger substance vapors the immune response triggered by IL-23.
“Our findings indicate that blocking interleukin-12 does not make sense in psoriasis,” said the doctoral student and lead author of the study, Pascale Zwicky, according to a statement from the University of Zurich on Friday: “Such drugs should therefore no longer be used to treat psoriasis patients and patients. “
The majority of the results are based on experiments in a mouse model developed for the disease. Many results, for example the pathological division of skin cells when IL-12 is blocked, were also demonstrated by the researchers in patients with psoriasis.
The two messenger substances are also blocked for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and psoriatic arthritis. The role of IL-12 is not yet sufficiently probable for these diseases, said the immunologist Becher: “But here, too, the messenger substance can play a protective role.”