Assessment of epidermal dendritic cell markers and T-lymphocytes in psoriasis.

Research paper by J L JL Jones, J J Berth-Jones, A A Fletcher, P E PE Hutchinson

Indexed on: 01 Oct '94Published on: 01 Oct '94Published in: The Journal of Pathology


Epidermal dendritic and T-cell counts have been performed in lesional and non-lesional skin from 35 psoriatic patients. The aims were to investigate absolute changes and interrelationships between these cellular elements in psoriasis and to explain apparent discrepancies between these results and reports in the literature. In non-lesional skin, the most frequently expressed dendritic cell marker was CD1a. HLA-DR+ and alpha-mannosidase+ dendritic cells were approximately 50 per cent and S100+ cells were 25 per cent as frequent. T-lymphocytes were rare, CD4+ cells predominating. In lesional psoriatic epidermis, there was a definite increase (approximately two-fold) in the absolute number of CD1a+ dendritic cells. This differs from the conclusions from the majority of previous studies. However, when cell counts were expressed per unit area of vertical section, there was a decrease in CD1a+ cells in lesional skin, which is an explanation for this discrepancy. There was a greater increase in absolute HLA-DR+ cell counts, so that the numbers of cells expressing CD1a and HLA-DR were similar in lesional skin. S100 expression increased proportionately with CD1a+, but there was no absolute increase in alpha-mannosidase+ cells, which might represent a separate sub-population of dendritic cells. The greatest cellular increase was in T-lymphocytes, particularly CD8+. In lesional skin, direct correlations have been demonstrated between epidermal thickness, HLA-DR+ dendritic cells and T-lymphocytes, particularly CD8+ cells. We would suggest that the present method of quantification is of value for the analysis of absolute changes in epidermal infiltrates, particularly psoriasis, and could be applied to other epidermal pathologies.