Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder, characterised by epidermal hyperplasia (acanthosis) and leukocyte infiltration of the skin. Current therapies are inadequate, highlighting the need for new therapeutic targets. The P2X7 receptor is implicated in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. This study investigated the role of P2X7 in imiquimod (IMQ)-induced psoriasis-like inflammation. Topically applied IMQ caused twofold greater ear swelling in BALB/c mice compared to C57BL/6 mice, which encode a partial loss-of-function missense mutation in the P2RX7 gene. However, there was no difference in histological skin pathology (acanthosis and leukocyte infiltration) between the two strains. IMQ treatment up-regulated P2X7 expression in skin from both mouse strains. Additionally, IMQ induced ATP release from cultured human keratinocytes, a process independent of cell death. Injection of the P2X7 antagonist Brilliant Blue G (BBG) but not A-804598 partly reduced ear swelling compared to vehicle-injected control mice. Neither antagonist altered skin pathology. Moreover, no difference in ear swelling or skin pathology was observed between C57BL/6 and P2X7 knock-out (KO) mice. Flow cytometric analysis of IMQ-treated skin from C57BL/6 and P2X7 KO mice demonstrated similar leukocyte infiltration, including neutrophils, macrophages and T cells. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that P2X7 is not essential for development of IMQ-induced psoriasis-like inflammation but does not exclude a role for this receptor in psoriasis development in humans or other mouse models of this disease.
Available for download on Friday, June 08, 2018