Psoriasis, Type 2 Diabetes, And Obesity Might Come From A Shared Genetic Cause — Inflammation Strikes Again

Psoriasis, type 2 diabetes, and obesity might all share a common genetic cause, according to a twin study completed by researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. The paper examining the dynamics of the previously known association between psoriasis, type 2 diabetes, and obesity was published in JAMA Dermatology. This latest research indicates that they might stem from a shared genetic cause rather than be associated in other ways.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease in which skin cells experience rapid overgrowth, according to the CDC. It has already been associated with many features of metabolic syndrome and is considered a chronic skin disease rooted in autoimmune-based inflammation. Psoriasis symptoms include thickened, red skin that also displays patches of silvery scales that are often painful and itch. Patches of psoriasis can develop almost anywhere including on common areas like the knees, elbows, and scalp and less commonly around toenails, on genitals, and inside the mouth, according to Medical News Today. Psoriasis, a condition that is said to affect 6.7 million adult Americans, is not contagious, but between 10 and 20 percent of sufferers will go on to actually develop psoriatic arthritis, a condition where joints become inflamed as well, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Metabolic disorders and psoriasis have already been linked and shown to have shared immunoinflammatory pathways.

“The association of psoriasis with type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity has been extensively studied and has been the subject of numerous meta-analyses that clearly establish an association of psoriasis with both obesity and diabetes.”

The latest research out of Denmark, though, seems to indicate that metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes and obesity may actually share a common genetic cause with psoriasis.

Psoriasis, according to the researchers led by Dr. Ann Sophie Lønnberg, is more common in twins with type 2 diabetes. The study involved data compiled from 33,588 Danish twins that were aged 20- to 71-years-old.

Even though the researchers feel that psoriasis and obesity may have a shared genetic cause, the researchers were careful to make it clear that one condition won’t necessarily indicate that someone will develop the other condition.

“Psoriasis, type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity are strongly associated in adults after taking key confounding factors such as sex, age and smoking into account. Results indicate a common genetic etiology of psoriasis and obesity. Conducting future studies on specific genes and epigenetic factors that cause this association is relevant.”

Psoriasis has been described as the most common autoimmune disease in the United States, according to Dr. David Perlmutter, who believes the cause of psoriasis, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases lies within the gut.

Other studies in Denmark found that anti-gluten antibodies known as glycans are also very common in people with psoriasis, Gulf News reported. Prof David Sanders, a gastroenterologist at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, commented on this inflammation of the gut link to psoriasis and a possible therapy.

“Researchers put them on a gluten-free diet and found an improvement in their psoriatic skin scores.”

Meanwhile, scientists at the University of Iowa discovered that prolonged exposure to a toxin that is produced by the S.aureus bacteria when it is overgrown in the gut might be at the root of insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, and systemic inflammation in general. Professor Schlievert’s research indicated that the toxins known as superantigens that are produced by all strains of staph bacteria really do disrupt the immune system and are believed to cause chronic systemic inflammation.