Scientists Find Psoriasis Gene

University of Michigan scientists have found a common genetic variation in an immune system gene that makes people much more likely to develop psoriasis – a disfiguring inflammatory skin disease.

Named PSORS1 (SORE-ESS-1), for psoriasis susceptibility 1, the gene is the first genetic determinant of psoriasis to be definitively identified in a large clinical study. Its discovery could lead to new, more effective treatments for psoriasis without the risks and side-effects of current therapies.

Unlike diseases caused by a mutation in just one gene, psoriasis is what scientists call a multi-factorial disease. This means that people must inherit several disease-related genes, plus be exposed to one or more environmental triggers, in order to get psoriasis.

The PSORS1 gene is actually one of over 20 different varieties (scientists call them alleles) of a gene called HLA-C. “In terms of our grocery store analogy, think of PSORS1 as one of 20 ‘brands’ of HLA-C on the shelf,” study director James T. Elder, M.D., Ph.D., says.

UMHS Press Release: U-M scientists find psoriasis gene

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