, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 112-126
Date: 04 Jun 2014

Accumulation of FLT3+ CD11c+ dendritic cells in psoriatic lesions and the anti-psoriatic effect of a selective FLT3 inhibitor

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Psoriasis is a common chronic T-cell-mediated autoimmune skin disease, and traditional immunotherapies for psoriasis have focused on the direct inhibition of T cells, which often causes toxicity and lacks long-term effectiveness. Safe and effective therapeutic strategies are strongly needed for psoriasis. In this study, we show for the first time a significant accumulation of FLT3+ CD11c+ dendritic cells (DCs) in human psoriatic lesions and in the skin of experimental preclinical K14-VEGF transgenic homozygous mice, our animal model, although not an exact match for human psoriasis, displays many characteristics of inflammatory skin inflammation. SKLB4771, a potent and selective FLT3 inhibitor that we designed and synthesised, was used to treat cutaneous inflammation and psoriasis-like symptoms of disease in mice and almost completely cured the psoriasis-like disease without obvious toxicity. Mechanistic studies indicated that SKLB4771 treatment significantly decreased the number and activation of pDCs and mDCs in vitro and in vivo, and subsequent T-cell cascade reactions mediated by Th1/Th17 pathways. These findings show that targeted inhibition of FLT3, and hence direct interference with DCs, may be a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of psoriasis.

Heng-Xiu Yan, Wei-Wei Li and Yan Zhang have contributed equally to this work.