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Abstract

Background  Diabetes and obesity are more prevalent amongst psoriasis patients as is disturbance of the innate immune system. GLP-1 analogue therapy considerably improves weight and glycaemic control in people with type 2 diabetes and its receptor is present on innate immune cells.

Objective  We aimed to determine the effect of liraglutide, a GLP-1 analogue, on psoriasis severity.

Methods  Before and after 10 weeks of liraglutide therapy (1.2 mg subcutaneously daily) we determined the psoriasis area and severity index (PASI) and the dermatology life quality index (DLQI) in seven people with both psoriasis and diabetes (median age 48 years, median body mass index 48.2 kg/m2). We also evaluated the immunomodulatory properties of liraglutide by measuring circulating lymphocyte subset numbers and monocyte cytokine production.

Results  Liraglutide therapy decreased the median PASI from 4.8 to 3.0 (= 0.03) and the median DLQI from 6.0 to 2.0 (P = 0.03). Weight and glycaemic control improved significantly. Circulating invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells increased from 0.13% of T lymphocytes to 0.40% (P = 0.03). Liraglutide therapy also effected a non-significant 54% decrease in the proportion of circulating monocytes that produced tumour necrosis factor alpha (P = 0.07).

Conclusion  GLP-1 analogue therapy improves psoriasis severity, increases circulating iNKT cell number and modulates monocyte cytokine secretion. These effects may result from improvements in weight and glycaemic control as well as from direct immune effects of GLP-1 receptor activation. Prospective controlled trials of GLP-1 therapies are warranted, across all weight groups, in psoriasis patients with and without type 2 diabetes.