IL-17: The Key To Psoriasis and Cardiac Disease?


Clients with psoriasis are susceptible to an earlier mortality than those without the skin disease. However, it is not the skin disease itself but rather the cardiovascular disease (CVD) associated with the condition that is the most common cause of these clients' mortality. In an article published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatologyresearchers investigated the link between psoriasis and CVD, specifically investigating whether inhibiting interleukin-17 could reduce both conditions.

Psoriasis and Cardiovascular Disease

Psoriasis is commonly associated with CV. Due to the association of psoriasis severity with vascular inflammation, independent of traditional cardiovascular (CV) risk factors, CV increases as psoriasis severity increases.

The researchers further discovered that the risk of CVD increases with the number of psoriasis-affected body sites. However, not all research and investigations supported the link between psoriasis and CVD potentially due to the variability in psoriasis severity, patient disease duration, affected body sites or patient age. 

Interleukin-17, Psoriasis and CVD

The study explained that evidence that showed how the blockade of interleukin-17A (IL-17A) or its receptor reversed clinical, histologic and molecular features of psoriasis. Similarly, there are psoriasis drugs on the market that block IL-17A to reduce the severity of plaque psoriasis. Researchers sought to investigate if blocking this cytokine also reduced the incidence of CVD, since IL-17A activates and proliferates keratinocytes and leads to inflammation in the skin.

Through a study conducted with mouse models, it was discovered that the role of IL-17 with CVD is context dependent. However IL-17A inhibitors are a new class of anti-inflammatory agents, so there is not much data on their risk of CVD. 

Related: Psoriasis Meets its Match in Vanilla Extract

Psoriasis and CVD Conclusions 

The study concluded "While evidence suggests modifying underlying inflammation in psoriasis may reduce CVD risk, results of ongoing, prospective trials assessing anti-inflammatory interventions should provide further evidence, and indicate if these therapies are efficacious." 

The researchers emphasized that awareness for risk of CVD associated with psoriasis should be increased, and more widespread screenings and referrals should be encouraged.

The JAAD noted that changes may occur in this manuscript before publication. 

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