Age at disease onset: a key factor for understanding psoriatic disease

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Psoriasis and PsA are immune-mediated diseases with a strong genetic component. More than 20 new loci have been recently linked to these diseases. However, interactions between these genes and the phenotypic traits of both diseases are poorly understood at present. Stratification of psoriatic disease according to the sex of the patients, genetic factors or age at onset has allowed in the last few years a better understanding of the principles governing the onset and progression of these processes. The age of onset of psoriasis has been used for decades as an appropriate descriptor to define two subpopulations of psoriatic patients (types I and II) whose clinical and immunogenetic characteristics have been very well differentiated. Moreover, in patients with PsA this distinction between type I and II psoriasis also seems equally operative. In patients with PsA expressing the HLA-C*06 antigen, the latency between the onset of psoriasis and onset of joint symptoms is longer than in those without this marker. It is also known that PsA tends to appear earlier in patients with HLA-B*27 positivity, and that these patients also show a shorter interval of time between the onset of cutaneous lesions and the onset of joint disease. This review highlights the growing importance of age at disease onset as a key stratification factor in worldwide clinical and genetic studies of psoriatic disease.

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