The scientists propose that the molecule could be inhibited to control the proliferation of skin cells in psoriasis and promoted to encourage the proliferation of skin cells in wound healing.
The team analyzed skin biopsies of patients with and without psoriasis, as well as the skin of mice with psoriasis and with wounds on their backs.
The research ‘The Antimicrobial Protein REG3A Regulates Keratinocyte Proliferation and Differentiation after Skin Injury,’ appears in the June issue of Immunity.
The project, led by professor of medicine of UC San Diego’s division of dermatology Richard L. Gallo, found that regenerating islet-derived protein 3-alpha (REG3A) is highly expressed in skin cells during psoriasis and wound-healing, but not under normal skin conditions.
In tests, the researchers found that inhibiting REG3A slowed wound-healing but cleared up psoriasis, also noting that the molecule acts in conjunction with interleukin-17 (IL-17), an immune system protein involved in the signaling cascade which prompts skin cells to multiply in excess numbers.
The researchers believe that REG3A can treat psoriasis without the systemic immunosuppression problems of current treatments.
In addition, it was also concluded that it could be used in treatments to boost cell growth and promote wound healing while the possibility of the cell growth aspect of REG3A could translate to other areas of skin care where skin healing is needed such as in acne or superficial cuts and scrapes.
The project was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality.
Other topical treatments
Another team of researchers from the Medical College of Georgia recently investigated the effect of topical application of green tea polyphenols on the skin of mice, finding that it significantly reduced flaky skin.
According to the study the application of green tea appeared to slow down the over proliferation by acting on an enzyme called caspase 14 - an enzyme that seems to be involved in epithelial cell differentiation.