Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by dry, itchy and scaly patches. Patients suffer greatly from both, the negative features of the symptoms as well as psychologically from i.e. poor self-esteem or social isolation. For the development of adequate treatment strategies, clinically relevant models are inevitable.

Much of the current knowledge of the pathology of psoriasis has been generated by using mouse models, such as the popular imiquimod-induced dermatitis. However, given the fundamental biological differences in skin (and hair) biology between mice and men, these mouse models recapitulate solely selected psoriasis features, leaving out the full complexity of the disease.

In this short communication, published in the scientific Journal JEADV, by our CEO and founder Prof. Ralf Paus in collaboration with Prof. Amos Gilhar from Haifa, Israel and Prof. Kristian Reich from Hamburg, Germany, the authors plead to shift from using  “pure” mouse models, mimicking psoriasis, towards a humanized mouse model in which practically all human psoriasis features are preserved (read more here).

In this humanized mouse model, healthy human skin biopsies are grafted onto mice that lack a functional immune system. Afterwards, human immune cells, which have been primed to develop features similar to psoriatic immune cells, are injected into the grafted biopsies. Within two weeks, psoriatic lesions develop within the transplant that meet practically all criteria of human psoriasis, including for instance thickening of the epidermis, accumulation of immune cells, oedema, dilated blood vessels, and enhanced proliferation of keratinocytes. Most importantly, these psoriasis-like lesions respond to standard-of-care anti-psoriatic agents in a similar way as observed in human lesions in the clinics. This underlines the substantial pre-clinical relevance of this model for psoriasis research.

Ultimately, the authors suggest the adoption of this model to facilitate the development of fully-humanized psoriasis mouse models, which would be ideal to investigate underlying mechanisms of psoriasis pathology, and test candidate drugs, hopefully paving the way towards the development of improved treatments.

Read the full story here.

Also, find out more about ML’s services on lesional psoriasis skin organ culture models here.