Public Release: 

Compromised skin barrier function plays a role in psorasis development

Singapore and China scientists report research in journal Nature Genetics

Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore

Researchers at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and the Anhui Medical University, China, have identified genes that play an important role in the development of psoriasis, a common chronic skin disease.

The research, led by GIS Human Genetics Group Leader and Associate Prof. Liu Jianjun, will be published online on 25 Jan. 2009 in the journal Nature Genetics.

Studying genetic variants in the human genomes of a large cohort of patients with psorasis and healthy controls in the Chinese population, Dr. Liu and his colleagues, who are one of the three independent teams that have been simultaneously performing genetic studies on psoriasis, found that a genetic variant within what is known as the LCE gene cluster is able to provide protection against the development of psoriasis.

One of the LCE genes' functions is to code proteins that are part of cells located in the outermost layers of skin. These proteins are important for maintaining skin's barrier function.

"Together with the findings from the other two studies," said Dr Liu, "our finding suggests that compromised skin barrier function play a role in the development of psoriasis. This is a very important find, as it advances our understanding of the genetic basis of psoriasis, which in turn is important for early diagnosis and prediction of an individual's risk to the disease."

While Dr Liu's team focused on a Chinese population, the other two studies were conducted on Western populations. Dr Liu added, "Our team's work is also important because it is the first study ever done on a Chinese population - all other studies on psoriasis so far have focused on western populations."

All three independent studies will be published by Nature Genetics at the same time.

Psoriasis is a common chronic, auto-immune and hyper-proliferative skin disease, usually characterized by red scaly patches on the skin. Affecting about one percent of individuals, it is a recurring condition with varying degrees of severity from minor localised patches to complete body coverage.


Notes to reporters:

The research findings will be published in the Jan. 25, 2009 online issue of Nature Genetics in a paper titled, "Psoriasis genome-wide association study identifies susceptibility variants within LCE gene cluster at 1q21".

Authors: Xuejun Zhang1-3, Wei Huang4,5, Sen Yang1-3, Liangdan Sun1-3, Fengyu Zhang1-3, Qixing Zhu1-3, Furen Zhang3,6, Chi Zhang1-3, Wenhui Du1-3, Xiongming Pu3,7, Hui Li1-3, Fengli Xiao1-3, Zaixing Wang1-3, Yong Cui1-3, Fei Hao8, Jie Zheng9, Xueqin Yang3,10, Hui Cheng1-3, Chundi He11, Xiaoming Liu12, Limin Xu13, Houfeng Zheng1-3, Shumei Zhang1-3, Jianzhong Zhang14, Hongyan Wang1-3, Yilin Cheng1-3, Bihua Ji15, Qiaoyun Fang2, Yuzhen Li16, Fusheng Zhou2, Jianwen Han1-3, Cheng Quan1-3, Bin Chen1-3, Junlin Liu1-3, Da Lin1-3, Li Fan1-3, Anping Zhang1-3, Shengxiu Liu1-3, Chunjun Yang1-3, Peiguang Wang1-3, Wenming Zhou1-3, Guoshu Lin1-3, WeidongWu3,7, Xing Fan1-3, Min Gao1-3, Baoqi Yang3,6, Wensheng Lu1-3, Zheng Zhang1-3, Kunju Zhu1-3, Songke Shen1-3, Min Li1-3, Xiaoyan Zhang1-3, Tingting Cao1-3, Wei Ren1-3, Xin Zhang1-3, Jun He1-3, Xianfa Tang1-3, Shun Lu1-3, Jianqiang Yang1-3, Lin Zhang1-3, Danni Wang1-3, Feng Yuan1-3, Xianyong Yin1-3, Hongjie Huang4,5, Haifeng Wang4,5, Xinyi Lin17 & Jianju n Liu1,2,17

  1. Institute of Dermatology and Department of Dermatology at No.1 Hospital, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui 230022, China.
  2. The Key Laboratory of Gene Resource Utilization for Severe Diseases, Ministry of Education and Anhui Province, Hefei, Anhui 230032,China.
  3. Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui 230032, China.
  4. Chinese National Human Genome Center at Shanghai, Shanghai 201203, China.
  5. The National Engineering Center for Biochip Design and Engineer in Shanghai, Shanghai 201203, China.
  6. Shandong Provincial Institute of Dermatology and Venereology, Jinan, Shandong 250022, China.
  7. Department of Dermatology, People's Hospital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Urumchi, Xinjiang 830001,China.
  8. Department of Dermatology, Southwest Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, 400038, China.
  9. Department of Dermatology, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, China.
  10. Department of Dermatology, The General Hospital of Air Force, PLA, Beijing 100036, China.
  11. Department of Dermatology, No. 1 Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning 110001, China.
  12. Department of Dermatology, the 1st Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University, Dalian, Liaoning 116011, China.
  13. Department of Dermatology, Changzheng Hospital, Tianjin 300120, China.
  14. Department of Dermatology, Peking University People's Hospital, Beijing 100044, China.
  15. Department of Dermatology, Yijishan Hospital of Wannan Medical College, Wuhu, Anhui 241000, China.
  16. Department of Dermatology, Second Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin, Heilongjiang 150086, China.
  17. Human Genetics, Genome Institute of Singapore, Singapore 138672, Singapore.

Genome Institute of Singapore:

The Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) is a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). It is a national initiative with a global vision that seeks to use genomic sciences to improve public health and public prosperity. Established in 2001 as a centre for genomic discovery, the GIS will pursue the integration of technology, genetics and biology towards the goal of individualized medicine. The key research areas at the GIS include Systems Biology, Stem Cell & Developmental Biology, Cancer Biology & Pharmacology, Human Genetics, Infectious Diseases, Genomic Technologies, and Computational & Mathematical Biology. The genomics infrastructure at the GIS is utilized to train new scientific talent, to function as a bridge for academic and industrial research, and to explore scientific questions of high impact.

Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR):

A*STAR is Singapore's lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based Singapore. A*STAR actively nurtures public sector research and development in Biomedical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering, with a particular focus on fields essential to Singapore's manufacturing industry and new growth industries. It oversees 22 research institutes, consortia and centres, and supports extramural research with the universities, hospital research centres and other local and international partners. At the heart of this knowledge intensive work is human capital. Top local and international scientific talent drive knowledge creation at A*STAR research institutes. Thegency also sends scholars for undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral training in the best universities, a reflection of the high priority A*STAR places on nurturing the next generation of scientific talent.

For enquiries, please contact the following:
Genome Institute of Singapore
Winnie Serah Lim
Corporate Communications
Tel: (65) 6478 8013
(65) 9730 7884

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