The Major Orphan Forms of Ichthyosis Are Characterized by Systemic T-Cell Activation and Th-17/Tc-17/Th-22/Tc-22 Polarization in Blood

Tali Czarnowicki, Helen He, Alexandra Leonard, Kunal Malik, Shai Magidi, Stephanie Rangel, Krishna Patel, Kara Ramsey, Morgan Murphrey, Teresa Song, Yeriel Estrada, Hue Chi Wen, James G. Krueger, Emma Guttman-Yassky, Amy S. Paller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The ichthyoses are rare skin disorders with immune and barrier aberrations. Identifying blood phenotypes may advance targeted therapeutics. We aimed to compare frequencies of skin homing/cutaneous lymphocyte antigen (+) versus systemic/cutaneous lymphocyte antigen (–) “polar” CD4+/CD8+ and activated T-cell subsets in ichthyosis versus atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and control blood, with appropriate clinical correlations. Flow cytometry was used to measure IFN-γ IL-13, IL-9, IL-17, and IL-22 cytokines in CD4+/CD8+ T cells, with inducible co-stimulator molecule and HLA-DR defining mid- and long-term T-cell activation, respectively. We compared peripheral blood from 47 patients with ichthyosis (congenital ichthyosiform erythroderma, lamellar ichthyosis, epidermolytic ichthyosis, and Netherton syndrome) with 43 patients with atopic dermatitis and 24 patients with psoriasis and 59 age-matched controls. Clinical measures included the ichthyosis severity score, with subsets for erythema and scaling, transepidermal water loss, and pruritus. All ichthyoses had excessive inducible co-stimulator molecule activation (P < 0.001), particularly epidermolytic ichthyosis. Significantly elevated IL-17- (P < 0.05) and IL-22-producing (P < 0.01) T cells characterized ichthyoses, mainly Netherton syndrome and congenital ichthyosiform erythroderma (P < 0.05). Increased T helper 2/cytotoxic T cell 2/T helper 9 (P < 0.05) and similar IFN-γ frequencies (P > 0.1) versus controls were also noted. IL-17/IL-22-producing cells clustered with clinical measures, whereas IFN-γ clustered with age. Our data show peripheral blood IL-17/IL-22 activation across the ichthyoses, correlating with clinical measures. Targeted therapies should dissect the relative contribution of polar cytokines to disease pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2157-2167
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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