Psoriasis made easy: disentangling the complexity behind the skin lesions through the analysis of molecular networks

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition in which there is an increase in the rate at which skin cells are produced and shed from the skin, leading to the development of dry, itchy and scaly skin patches. Genetics and the immune system are important in its development, along with several environmental factors which can trigger or exacerbate it, in those who are susceptible. However, many of the biological mechanisms underlying psoriasis remain unknown.

In our study we analyzed large-scale data to identify genes and cellular activities in skin with psoriasis compared to skin unaffected by psoriasis. In this way, we identified several genes in skin with psoriasis that could help in the potential development of new treatments for this common skin condition. In addition, our study investigated gene-to-gene interactions in skin with psoriasis and skin unaffected by psoriasis. By analyzing molecular networks related to psoriasis, we found 250 genes that are not affected but connect to the affected genes, and we call them "bridge genes". These bridge genes may have a role in psoriasis development. We also discovered new information about the skin lesion in psoriasis, such as the type of immune cells involved in the disease, which is important for understanding how the disease progresses.

Overall, our study highlights the importance of going beyond the typical analysis of single genes in order to capture the complex biological activities in conditions such as psoriasis.

Our work provides new insights into the biological mechanisms underlying psoriasis and identifies new targets for potential treatments, providing real opportunity to improve the lives of people living with psoriasis.

Related publication: The integration of large-scale public data and network analysis uncovers molecular characteristics of psoriasis.
Antonio Federico, Alisa Pavel, Lena Möbus, David McKean, Giusy del Giudice, Vittorio Fortino, Hanna Niehues, Joe Rastrick, Kilian Eyerich, Stefanie Eyerich, Ellen van den Bogaard, Catherine Smith, Stephan Weidinger, Emanuele de Rinaldis & Dario Greco. Human Genomics volume 16, Article number: 62 (2022), doi: 0.1186/s40246-022-00431-x

Psoriasis made easy: disentangling the complexity behind the skin lesions through the analysis of molecular networks