© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Introduction: The IL-23/IL-17 axis is currently considered to be crucial in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. Human IL-23 is primarily produced by antigen-presenting cells and induces and maintains differentiation of Th17 cells and Th22 cells, a primary cellular source of proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-17 and IL-22, which mediate the epidermal hyperplasia, keratinocyte immune activation and tissue inflammation inherent in psoriasis. Agents that target the p40 subunit common to both IL-12 and IL-23 have shown robust clinical activity, but selectivity for IL-23p19 could offer advantages in efficacy and safety with respect to anti-p40 blockade. Areas covered: Relevant references regarding the role of the IL-23/IL-17 pathway in the pathogenesis of psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis and clinical trials with IL-23p40 and IL-23p19 blocking agents were obtained through a literature search in MEDLINE/Pubmed for articles published until November 2016. Moreover, ongoing registered clinical trials (RCTs) of moderate-to-severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis were searched through clinicaltrials.gov website, and a manual search was made for pertinent communications at the 2016 American Academy of Dermatology and European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology meetings. Expert commentary: There are potential advantages in selective blockade of the IL23-specific p19 subunit with respect to distal blockade of IL-17A or its receptor. Acting upstream in the IL-23/IL-17 cytokine pathway is likely to reduce the expression of multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines acting on keratinocytes -including IL-17F, IL-21 and IL-22-, in addition to IL-17A. On the other hand, safety data thus far suggest that these drugs might be devoid of some adverse effects of IL-17A blockade that seem to be class related, such as mucocutaneous Candida infections or triggering or worsening of inflammatory bowel disease. Specific IL-23p19 blockade with high-affinity monoclonal antibodies seems to be able to induce long-term remissions of the activity in psoriasis and might eventually represent a paradigm change in the treatment of psoriasis. The results of phase III and comparative head-to-head trials with these agents are eagerly awaited.
- psoriatic arthritis