What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin condition characterized by patches of red, inflamed skin covered with silvery-white scales. It is a common disorder that affects the skin, nails, and sometimes joints. Psoriasis occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells, causing an overproduction of new skin cells. These excess skin cells accumulate on the surface of the skin, leading to the formation of thick, scaly patches known as plaques.


The exact cause of psoriasis is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune system factors. Risk factors for psoriasis include a family history of the condition, certain infections, stress, obesity, smoking, and certain medications.


What is the relationship between psoriasis and oxidative stress?

The relationship between psoriasis and oxidative stress is an area of active research, and while the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, there is evidence to suggest that oxidative stress may play a role in the pathogenesis of psoriasis.


  • Inflammation: Oxidative stress can trigger and perpetuate inflammatory responses in the skin, which are characteristic features of psoriasis. Reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are highly reactive molecules containing oxygen, can activate inflammatory pathways and stimulate the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in the skin. These inflammatory mediators contribute to the development of psoriatic plaques and the recruitment of immune cells to the affected skin.


  • Epidermal Hyperproliferation: Oxidative stress may promote the abnormal proliferation and differentiation of keratinocytes, the predominant cell type in the epidermis (outer layer of the skin), leading to the formation of thickened skin plaques characteristic of psoriasis. Oxidative stress-induced damage to DNA and other cellular components can disrupt normal cellular processes and signaling pathways involved in keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation.


  • Impaired Antioxidant Defenses: Individuals with psoriasis may have impaired antioxidant defenses, leading to increased susceptibility to oxidative stress-induced damage. Antioxidant enzymes and molecules play a crucial role in protecting cells and tissues from oxidative damage by neutralizing ROS and other reactive molecules. Imbalances in antioxidant defenses and oxidative stress have been observed in the skin of individuals with psoriasis, suggesting that oxidative stress may contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease.


  • Association with Comorbidities: Psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of various comorbidities, including cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and autoimmune disorders, which are also characterized by oxidative stress and inflammation. Oxidative stress may act as a common pathway linking psoriasis to these comorbidities, contributing to their pathogenesis and progression.


Overall, while the exact role of oxidative stress in the development and progression of psoriasis is still being elucidated, evidence suggests that oxidative stress may contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease by promoting inflammation, epidermal hyperproliferation, and impaired antioxidant defenses.