β-Defensin 2 is a responsive biomarker of IL-17A–driven skin pathology in patients with psoriasis

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Abstract

Background:

IL-17A is a key driver of human autoimmune diseases, particularly psoriasis.

Objective:

We sought to determine the role of IL-17A in psoriasis pathogenesis and to identify a robust and measurable biomarker of IL-17A–driven pathology.

Methods:

We studied 8 healthy subjects and 8 patients with psoriasis before and after administration of secukinumab, a fully human anti–IL-17A mAb, and used a combination of classical techniques and a novel skin microperfusion assay to evaluate the expression of 170 proteins in blood, nonlesional skin, and lesional skin. For validation, we also tested stored sera from 601 patients with a variety of autoimmune diseases.

Results:

IL-17A was specifically expressed in lesional compared with nonlesional psoriatic skin (9.8 vs 0.8 pg/mL,P< .001). Proteomic and gene transcription analyses revealed dysregulated antimicrobial peptides, proinflammatory cytokines, and neutrophil chemoattractants, levels of which returned to normal after treatment with secukinumab. β-Defensin 2 (BD-2) was identified as a biomarker of IL-17A–driven pathology by comparing protein expression in patients with psoriasis versus that in healthy subjects (5746 vs 82 pg/mL in serum,P< .0001; 2747 vs <218 pg/mL in dermis,P< .001), responsiveness to secukinumab therapy, and synergistic induction by IL-17A and TNF-α in epidermal keratinocytes. In a validation set of sera from 601 patients with autoimmune diseases thought to be IL-17A driven, we found that BD-2 levels are most highly increased in patients with psoriatic skin lesions, and in patients with psoriasis, BD-2 levels correlated well with IL-17A levels (r= 0.70, n = 199,P< .001) and Psoriasis Area and Severity Index scores (r= 0.53, n = 281,P< .001).

Conclusion:

IL-17A is a primary driver of skin pathology in patients with psoriasis, and serum BD-2 is an easily measurable biomarker of IL-17A–driven skin pathology.

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