Activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor dampens the severity of inflammatory skin conditionsMore about Open Access at the Crick
Authors listPaola Di Meglio João H Duarte Helena Ahlfors Nick DL Owens Ying Li Federica Villanova Isabella Tosi Keiji Hirota Frank O Nestle Ulrich Mrowietz Michael J Gilchrist Gitta Stockinger
Environmental stimuli are known to contribute to psoriasis pathogenesis and that of other autoimmune diseases, but the mechanisms are largely unknown. Here we show that the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), a transcription factor that senses environmental stimuli, modulates pathology in psoriasis. AhR-activating ligands reduced inflammation in the lesional skin of psoriasis patients, whereas AhR antagonists increased inflammation. Similarly, AhR signaling via the endogenous ligand FICZ reduced the inflammatory response in the imiquimod-induced model of skin inflammation and AhR-deficient mice exhibited a substantial exacerbation of the disease, compared to AhR-sufficient controls. Nonhematopoietic cells, in particular keratinocytes, were responsible for this hyperinflammatory response, which involved upregulation of AP-1 family members of transcription factors. Thus, our data suggest a critical role for AhR in the regulation of inflammatory responses and open the possibility for novel therapeutic strategies in chronic inflammatory disorders.