Biopsies from psoriasis lesions and clinically uninvolved skin of eight patients and five normal subjects were studied by immunocytochemistry with computerized image analysis for the presence of endothelial, neuronal and inducible isoforms of nitric oxide synthase. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase was expressed in the endothelium and weakly in some keratinoctyes. Its expression was not significantly different in psoriasis. Inducible nitric oxide synthase, however, was absent from normal skin but was significantly upregulated in psoriatic lesional skin, focally in keratinocytes but to the greatest extent in the papillary dermis and to a lesser extent in clinically uninvolved psoriatic skin. Inducible nitric oxide synthase staining was greatest in the more severe lesions and correlated with the inflammatory infiltrate (CD3-positive cells) and with keratinocyte proliferation (Ki-67-positive cells). In normal skin, neuronal nitric oxide synthase was expressed only in keratinocytes in the granular layer and eccrine sweat glands. However, in psoriasis and clinically uninvolved skin the neuronal form was present through all levels of the epidermis. Direct measurement of nitric oxide production from the skin surface revealed a tenfold increase in the lesions of 16 psoriatic patients compared with their nonlesional skin, and this nitric oxide production was inhibited by topical betamethasone.
- Nitric oxide
- Nitric oxide synthase