The etiology and pathogenesis of psoriasis--one of the most common chronic, inflammatory, hyperproliferative skin disorders of man--have long fascinated dermatologists, pathologists and biologists alike. Here, we have a model disease that offers to study neuroectodermal-mesenchymal interactions in the widest sense possible. Epithelial, endothelial, and hematopoietic cells as well as neurons projecting into the skin apparently all interact with each other to generate the characteristic psoriatic lesion. For decades, the ongoing controversy on the molecular nature, choreography and hierarchy of these complex interactions e.g. between epidermal keratinocytes, T cells, neurotrophils, endothelial cells and sensory nerves has served as a driving force propelling investigative dermatology to ever new horizons. This debate has not only been at the heart of our quest to develop more effective forms of therapy for this socially crippling disease, but it also has profoundly influenced how we view the skin as a whole: the numerous competing theories on the pathogenesis of psoriasis published so far also are reflections on the evolution of mainstream thought in skin biology over the last decades. These days, conventional wisdom infatuated with a T-cell-centered approach to inflammatory skin diseases-- portrays psoriasis as an autoimmune disease, where misguided T lymphocyte activities cause secondary epithelial abnormalities. And yet, as this CONTROVERSIES feature reminds us, some authoritative "pockets of academic resistance" are still quite alive, and interpret psoriasis e.g. as a genetically determined, abnormal epithelial response pattern to infectious and/or physicochemical skin insults. Weighing the corresponding lines of argumentation is not only an intriguing, clinically relevant intellectual exercise, but also serves as a wonderful instrument for questioning our own views of the skin universe and its patterns of deviation from a state of homeostasis.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||17|
|State||Published - Oct 2000|
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