BACKGROUND: Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) is an immune-mediated disease with heterogenous symptoms indicating differences in the underlying immunopathogenesis. The primary objective of the study explored the dynamic mechanisms and interplay between immune cell subtypes constituting the immune response driving PsA to evaluate possible differences in immune cellular phenotypes, and secondary examined associations between emerging immune cellular phenotypes and disease outcomes.
METHODS: Peripheral blood was collected from 70 PsA patients. Frequencies of nine immune cell subtypes were determined by multicolor flow cytometry. The interplay between immune cells were examined with principal component analysis (PCA) to establish immune cellular phenotypes. Disease characteristics, Disease Activity in Psoriatic Arthritis (DAPSA) and Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI) were retrieved to examine associations to individual cellular phenotypes.
RESULTS: Four components were identified using PCA resembling four immune cellular phenotypes. Component 1, explaining 25.6% of the variance with contribution from T-helper 17 cells (Th17), memory T regulatory cells (mTregs), dendritic cells and monocytes, was associated with longer disease duration and higher DAPSA. Component 2, driven by Th1, naïve Tregs and mTregs, was associated with shorter disease duration. Component 3 was driven by both Th1, Th17 and CD8+ T cells, while component 4 was characterized by a reverse correlation between CD8+ T cells and natural killer cells.
CONCLUSION: Four immune cellular phenotypes of PsA were suggested at baseline demonstrating complex immune cellular mechanisms in PsA implying the possibility of improving PsA patient stratification based on both clinical and immune cellular phenotypes.