Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized mainly by epidermal hyperplasia, scaling, and erythema; T helper 17 cells have a role in its pathogenesis. Although IL-26, known as a T helper 17 cytokine, is upregulated in psoriatic skin lesions, its precise role is unclear. We investigated the role of IL-26 in the imiquimod-induced psoriasis-like murine model using human IL-26 transgenic mice. Erythema symptoms induced by daily applications of imiquimod increased dramatically in human IL-26 transgenic mice compared with controls. Vascularization and immune cell infiltration were prominent in skin lesions of human IL-26 transgenic mice. Levels of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 1, FGF2, and FGF7 were significantly upregulated in the skin lesions of imiquimod-treated human IL-26 transgenic mice and psoriasis patients. In vitro analysis demonstrated that FGF1, FGF2, and FGF7 levels were elevated in human keratinocytes and vascular endothelial cells following IL-26 stimulation. Furthermore, IL-26 acted directly on vascular endothelial cells, promoting proliferation and tube formation, possibly through protein kinase B, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, and NF-κB pathways. Moreover, similar effects of IL-26 were observed in the murine contact hypersensitivity model, indicating that these effects are not restricted to psoriasis. Altogether, our data indicate that IL-26 may be a promising therapeutic target in T cell-mediated skin inflammation, including psoriasis.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.