According to investigators, the lipid phosphatidylglycerol, that helps to keep skin cell turnover on track, may also help with psoriasis.
Reported in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, topical application of the lipid phosphatidylglycerol, or PG, on a mouse model of psoriasis reduced inflammation as well as characteristic, raised skin lesions, therefore suggesting that further help with psoriasis can be provided to those who are suffering with such skin conditions.
Lipid phosphatidylglycerol and its role in cell regulation
Researchers have already demonstrated that PG has a role in both regulating the function of the major cell type in our skin called keratinocytes and suppressing skin inflammation. Now they have evidence that PG inhibits toll-like receptor activation by the antimicrobial peptides produced by those skin cells,
Toll-like receptors are a family of receptors that detect external invaders as well as internal damage signals then activate an immune response. Our skin is our largest organ and front line of defence, and a variety of skin cell types make antimicrobial peptides, which function like an endogenous antibiotic to help the skin protect us.
Psoriasis upsets this by increasing both the production of skin cells and production of these antimicrobials by those cells. Moreover, inflammation in the absence of an infection is a hallmark of psoriasis. The resulting inflammation produces a response whereby Keratinocytes start to excessively proliferate and abnormally differentiate, therefore causing the skin to thicken.
Can lipid phosphatidylglycerol help with psoriasis?
Lipid phosphatidylglycerol enables the normal differentiation of new skin cells as cells make their way up multiple layers, reach the surface and old cells slough off.
PG is made from glycerin, a natural alcohol, water attractor and key component of many lipids, which helps skin look better and aids this healthy production and maturation of high-turnover skin cells. Glycerin is transported by aquaporin-3, which the investigators believe is decreased in psoriasis versus healthy skin.
Today there are a variety of topical treatments for psoriasis, including vitamin D analogues and glucocorticoids, but nothing that works great for all patients. Part of the problem is that the causes of psoriasis varies and the reality is that they are not fully understood. Systemic drugs are provided that generally suppress the immune response, however these have obvious side effects like leaving patients susceptible to infection and cancer.
The researchers believe that although lipid phosphatidylglycerol will not eradicate skin related issues such as psoriasis, it may however one day be a good option for patients with mild disease or pose as an adjunct to other therapies.