The role of the palatine tonsils in the pathogenesis and treatment of psoriasis


  • Funding sources
    This work was funded in part by grants from The Babcock Endowment, National Psoriasis Foundation U.S.A. and The American Skin Association to A.J., and from The Icelandic Research Fund, Landspitali Hospital Research Fund and The Research Fund of the University of Iceland for Doctoral Studies to S.L.S.

  • Conflicts of interest
    None declared.

Andrew Johnston.


Psoriasis is a common chronic skin disease with strong genetic associations and environmental triggers. Patients with psoriasis develop sore throats much more frequently than nonpsoriatic individuals and it is well documented that streptococcal throat infections can trigger the onset of psoriasis, and such infections cause exacerbation of chronic psoriasis. It is now generally accepted that psoriatic lesions are caused by abnormal reactivity of specific T lymphocytes in the skin. However, it has been shown in recent years that activation of specific immunity is always preceded by activation of nonspecific innate immune mechanisms, and that abnormalities in the innate immune system can cause dysregulation in specific immune responses. Here we explore the possible immune mechanisms that are involved in the link between infection of the tonsils and this inflammatory skin disease. Moreover, we survey the literature and discuss the suitability of tonsillectomy as a treatment for psoriasis.