Researchers at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and the Anhui Medical University, China, have identified genes that play an important role in the development of psoriasis. This team of researchers is one of three independent teams that have been simultaneously performing genetic studies on psoriasis.
Studying genetic variants in the human genomes of a large cohort of patients with psoriasis and healthy controls in the Chinese population, the researchers found that a genetic variant within what is known as the LCE gene cluster is able to provide protection against the development of psoriasis.
One of the LCE genes’ functions is to code proteins that are part of cells located in the outermost layers of skin. These proteins are important for maintaining skin’s barrier function.
"Together with the findings from the other two studies, our finding suggests that compromised skin barrier function play a role in the development of psoriasis. This is a very important find, as it advances our understanding of the genetic basis of psoriasis, which in turn is important for early diagnosis and prediction of an individual’s risk to the disease,” said lead researcher Liu Jianjun, MD.
While Liu’s team focused on a Chinese population, the other two studies were conducted on Western populations. "Our team’s work is also important because it is the first study ever done on a Chinese population – all other studies on psoriasis so far have focused on western populations," said Liu.
Nature Genetics will publish all three independent studies at the same time.