A recent research discovered the molecular relations between psoriasis and diabetes. Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin disorder, distressing an estimated 2.2 percent of people in the United States.
For years, we have recognized that psoriasis increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But, the exact nature of this link is unclear.
Recently, scientists from King’s College London in the United Kingdom planned a series of trials to gain perception into the link. Lead author of the research Elizabeth Evans presented their findings at the latest annual conference of the Society for Endocrinology, in Glasgow, U.K.
In the U.S, psoriasis is the most common autoimmune disorder. Psoriasis is more than the rash on your skin surface and its effects can run deep in your body. Psoriasis problems include a higher risk for metabolic syndrome, stroke, heart disease, and death related to cardiovascular complications.
It is hard to believe that the psoriasis plaques on your skin surface can put you at risk for severe health difficulties down the road, but it is true — and that risk is actual. Skin cells are replaced too quickly in people with psoriasis.
Generally, in normal persons it takes 3–4 weeks to grow cells in the deeper layers of skin. As they developed, they gradually rise to the surface.
However, psoriasis causes immature skin cells in less than 1 week to reach the surface, after which they expire and flake off. This leads to itchy, red patches of skin.
Psoriasis, inflammation, and insulin
The team from King’s College studied animal and human skin samples, looking for any molecular variations associated with psoriasis which might bring diabetes. Researchers used an experimental model of psoriasis formed by applying imiquimod, an immune response modifier, to mouse and human skin.
The researchers found that mice skin with psoriasis revealed insulin resistance and inflammation, a risk factor for diabetes. This resistance means that cells are not responding properly to the hormone insulin. Thus they are not removing glucose from the bloodstream.
Fat tissue, particularly, took up glucose less simply, and the scientists measured a drop in levels of glucose transporter type 4 receptor. This receptor is essential for moving glucose into fat cells.
Moreover, beta cells in the mice with psoriasis created more insulin than those in the unaffected mice. The scientists believe that this overproduction is an effort to recompense for insulin resistance.
“The laboratory model we used in this research resembles many of the major hallmarks of psoriasis, and we have detected some variations caused by the disorder which reveal what is seen in a prediabetic patient.”
When scientists look for evidence that one disease may possibly affect the risk for another disorder, they reflect the “dose-response effect”. That is why the more severe psoriasis, the greater the risk of diabetes appears to be. In brief, the inflammation linked with psoriasis caused insulin resistance and increased insulin production. The triggers for these effects were produced by the skin.
This is just the start of their study. The team wants to recognize the factors released by the psoriatic skin which may play a role in evolving diabetes. The outcomes of this research will improve our understanding of skin disease, and they may also help us gain intuition about diabetes.
Evans says, “If we can identify novel skin-derived factors which are directly affecting blood sugar control, they may lead to possible therapeutic targets for the treatment of insulin resistance or diabetes.”
Ultimately, this study may help reduce the risk that people with psoriasis will develop diabetes. As Evans explains, “Finding out if skin-derived factors which change blood sugar control are lesser when treatment for psoriasis is properly followed to would be very interesting, as it may lower a risk of a patient of developing type 2 diabetes.”
While these early outcomes mark the beginning of a long road ahead, there is vast potential to improve treatment of psoriasis, reduce the risk of diabetes in individuals with psoriasis, and gain vision into how diabetes works.