In vivo quantification of microvessels in clinically uninvolved psoriatic skin and in normal skin.Br J Dermatol. 2007 Jun; 156(6):1224-9.BJ
Microvascular abnormalities (capillary elongation, widening and tortuosity) are a characteristic feature of psoriasis and form one of the pathological diagnostic criteria. However, it is still not entirely clear when these microcirculatory changes appear in the skin of psoriatic subjects. Some studies suggest that capillary dilatation and elongation are present in the clinically uninvolved skin of psoriatic patients even at sites at which psoriatic plaques rarely occur.
To determine, using noninvasive techniques in vivo, the nature of any microvascular changes in the clinically uninvolved skin of psoriatic subjects and to quantify the dermal microvasculature in the clinically uninvolved skin of psoriatic subjects, in vivo.
Dermal microvessels in both the clinically uninvolved skin of psoriatic subjects and in the skin of normal volunteers (i.e. individuals without any clinical evidence of psoriasis or other inflammatory dermatoses) were directly visualized by native video-capillaroscopy, in vivo. Images were analysed using a combination of nonstereological and stereological measurements. The findings in each group were then compared to determine if there were any differences in microvascular parameters.
Quantitative analysis of capillaroscopic images showed that there were no significant differences in microvessel density (P = 0.9), image area fraction (P = 0.6), microvessel length density (P = 0.7) and vessel image width (P = 1.0) in the clinically uninvolved skin of psoriatic subjects and the normal skin of healthy volunteers, when extensor forearm skin was examined.
These findings indicate that prior to the development of clinical lesions there are no significant morphological differences between the dermal microvessels in the clinically uninvolved skin of psoriatic subjects and the dermal microvessels in the normal skin of healthy volunteers. However, during plaque formation, the superficial papillary microvessels in plaque skin undergo a striking, characteristic change, i.e. elongation, widening and tortuosity. These blood vessels must therefore, at least in part, play an important, necessary, but probably secondary role in the pathogenesis of clinical lesions in psoriasis.