Second Clinical College of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510120, Guangdong, China; Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510120, Guangdong, China; Guangdong Provincial Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Guangzhou 510120, Guangdong, China; Dermatology Department, Guangdong Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510120, Guangdong, China; Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Clinical Research on Traditional Chinese Medicine Syndrome, Guangzhou 510120, Guangdong, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Psoriasis is a chronic recurrent skin inflammatory disease, and inhibition of inflammation may be an effective means of treating psoriasis. The flavonoid genistein has a clear anti-inflammatory effect. However, the anti-psoriatic effects of genistein and their underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, we investigated the effects of genistein on imiquimod (IMQ)-induced psoriasis-like skin lesions in vivo and explored the mechanisms underlying those effects in vitro. It was found that genistein can significantly improve IMQ-induced pathological scores of cutaneous skin lesions in mice, reduce epidermal thickness, and inhibit the expression of inflammatory factors，including interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2), IL-17 and IL-23. In vitro studies, genistein inhibited the proliferation of human keratinocyte HaCaT cells and inhibited the expression of inflammatory factors in a dose-dependent manner which induced by TNFα. Further researches showed that genistein could also significantly inhibit phosphorylated STAT3 (pSAT3) expression in IMQ mice dorsal skin and in TNF-α-induced HaCaT cells. The inhibitory effect of genistein on the expression of IL-6, IL-23 and TNF-α was weakened after Stat3 siRNA in HaCaT cells. Genistein could also significantly inhibit TNF-α induced the nuclear translocation of NF-κB, and inhibit the phosphorylation of I-kBα (pI-kBα). After combining with NF-κB blocker BAY 11-7082, the effect of genistein down-regulate the expression of TNF-α and VEGFA was attenuated in HaCaT cells. The results suggest that genistein may be developed for the treatment of psoriasis lesions.