Psoriasis appears to be influenced by stress, which causes release of adrenal hormones. Serotonin, or hormonal actions on serotonin and serotonin receptors, may have a role in psoriasis. Distribution of serotonin receptors was studied in involved and noninvolved skin in patients with psoriasis and compared to normal skin, by using immunohistochemistry and antibodies to 5-HT1A, 5-HT2A and 5-HT3 receptors (R). There was a decreased (P<0.001) number of 5-HT1AR positive cells, the majority being tryptase positive, in involved and noninvolved psoriatic papillary dermis, compared to normal skin. 5-HTlAR expression was also found in the upper part of the epidermis, on vessel walls and on melanocytes. 5-HT2AR expressing papillary mononuclear cells, CD3 positive, were increased (P<0.001 and P<0.01, respectively) in involved and noninvolved psoriatic skin, compared to normal skin, an increase (P<0.01) also being found in the involved compared to noninvolved skin. Expression of 5-HT3R could be found in the basal epidermal layer of noninvolved but not in the involved skin of psoriasis, where it was only found in the acrosyringium. The present findings are compatible with the 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptors having antagonistic functions, and raise the possibility of using receptor specific drugs in the treatment of psoriasis.
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