National Psoriasis Foundation Discovery Grant recipient finds genetic clues about pustular psoriasis
Research could identify new ways to treat the various forms
of pustular psoriasis
New research reveals genetic similarities between generalized pustular psoriasis and the two other forms of pustular psoriasis known as palmoplantar pustular psoriasis—which appears on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet—and acropustulosis, a rare and severe variation of palmoplantar pustular psoriasis that causes lesions on the fingertips and sometimes the ends of the toes.
The study, led by British researcher Francesca Capon of King’s College London and backed by a 2012 National Psoriasis Foundation Discovery Grant, found that a gene called IL36RN might also be involved in these other forms of pustular psoriasis. Scientists have previously linked generalized pustular psoriasis, also known as von Zumbush pustular psoriasis, to mutations in the IL36RN gene.
Data reveals that while the three types of pustular psoriasis manifest with different symptoms and are diagnosed and treated differently, they are genetically similar.
Currently, there is a lack of data on treatment options for pustular psoriasis. However, Capon’s findings about the genetic similarities between these types of the disease could change the way pustular psoriasis is treated. If a treatment works for generalized pustular psoriasis patients with the IL36RN mutation, it will likely also work in patients with the other two types of pustular psoriasis that also have the genetic mutation.
The researchers note that not all people with generalized pustular psoriasis have a mutation of the IL36RN gene, and this study demonstrates that the same goes for people with the other two forms of pustular psoriasis. Studies show that people with IL36RN mutations create more IL-1, a cytokine or protein that can cause inflammation. This suggests that the symptoms for these particular people may be due to an increased amount of IL-1, and that an IL-1 inhibitor could help alleviate pustular psoriasis symptoms in those particular patients.