Atopic dermatitis and psoriasis: inflammation as a common mechanism; hydroxytyrosol

Skin is exposed to many potential damages from external causes but also internal. These triggers cause different effects on our skin.

Among these effects we can mention atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Behind these last two diseases there are different mechanisms and symptoms but also share some aspects in common. The two of them involve inflammatory processes.

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic, non-infectious inflammatory dermatosis. A characteristic feature is persistent itching of the skin. Thepathophysiology of atopic dermatitis is complex and multifactorial. It includes genetic disorders, a defect in the epidermal barrier, an altered immune response, and disruption of the skin’s microbial balance. Increasing information on the pathophysiology of atopic dermatitis (AD), accumulating data on cellular and molecular pathways in immunological reactions and inflammation (“Emerging treatments for atopic dermatitis”; Norito Katoh et al.; J. Dermatol. 2021).

Psoriasis is one of the most prevalent skin diseases associated with disrupted barrier function. It is characterised by the formation of psoriatic lesions, the aberrant differentiation and proliferation of keratinocytes, and excessive inflammation. It is considered as an immune-mediated inflammatory disease with a major genetic component.

Psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (AD) are two common chronic inflammatory skin diseases. Skin diseases such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis are expressions of inflammatory processes.

Endogenous compounds in the body take part in the inflammatory reaction and in the immune system response. They are known to be mediators in this process. Cytokines and eicosanoids are among them. They develop their activity joining to specific receptors in the surface of the skin cells, creating cell signalling cascades.

Cytokines are proteins which control the function of the cells which produce them. They are the agents, usually produced by the immune system, responsible for intercellular communication. Many of them are pro-inflammatory.

Eicosanoids are a group of lipidic molecules which function as mediators for the central nervous system, inflammation and the immune response.

Recent research lines relate different chemokines to atopic dermatitis development and they suggest the effectiveness of treatments which inhibit them. (Kataoka –Journal Dermatology 2014).

There are a great number of research studies that try to explain that high levels of certain cytokines (IL-33 and IL-1) in the body cause AD (Tamagawa-Mineoka R et al.; J.Am.Acad. Dermatol. 2014). Also in 2012 Abramovits W et al. 2013 (Dermatol Clin) shows evidence of IL-1 role in AD.

Others talk about IL-17A as an inducer and as possible target to stop AD (Nakajim S et al; J. Invest. Dermatol. 2014).

Th17 cells play a very important role in body protection and produce mediators of the IL-17 interleukin family, and while they are very important defence mechanisms against extracellular pathogens, they can cause, at the same time, excessive tissue damage. (“The IL-17 pathway as a major therapeutic target in autoimmune diseases”; Yan Hu et al. 2010).

“Anti-IL-17 agents are likely to become important future therapeutics for psoriasis” (IL -17 targeted therapies for psoriasis; Andrea Chricozzi et al. 2013).

Likewise, IL-23 is the key regulator cytokine for Th17 cells and IL-17 production. Both IL-23 and IL-17 play an essential role in some auto immune conditions including psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (“The new era for the treatment of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, perspectives and validated strategies”; Lucia Novelli et al. 2013).

Bitler et al. Hydrolyzed Olive Vegetation Water in Mice Has Anti-Inflammatory Activity (2005)
Zhang X, Cao J, Zhong L. Hydroxytyrosol inhibits pro-inflammatory cytokines, iNOS, and COX-2 expression in human monocytic cells. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol 2009;379(6):581–6.

Hydroxytyrosol is the major anti-inflammatory compound in aqueous olive extracts and impairs cytokine and chemokine production in macrophages. (Richard N. et al. 2011).

It was shown that hydroxytyrosol inhibits NO production and iNOS genes expression.

Hydroxytyrosol decreased cytokines (IL- 1α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-12, TNF-α) and chemokines (CXCL10/IP-10, CCL2/MCP-1) secretion; (Hydroxytyrosol is the major anti-inflammatory compound in aqueous olive extracts and impairs cytokine and chemokine production in macrophages.

A few years ago, a research team from the Hospital Xanit in Spain, showed that a combination of olive polyphenols (among them hydroxytyrosol) and some vitamins (riboflavin, biotin and vitamin A) improved psoriasis symptoms in humans (“An olive polyphenol-based nutraceutical improves cutaneous manifestations of psoriasis in humans”. Herrera-Acosta et al.; Pharmanutrition 2016).

Hydroxytyrosol has anti-inflammatory properties and is, with no doubt, a good candidate for skin care.

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