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Effets tabac psoriasis.

What is the influence of smoking on psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic and inflammatory skin disease that has been of interest to researchers for years. Beyond genetic and environmental factors, the potential role of smoking in the development and severity of psoriasis is a subject of debate. What are the connections between smoking and psoriasis? The answer is provided in this article.

Published February 20, 2024, by Manon, Scientific Editor — 4 min read

How does psoriasis occur?

Psoriasis is characterized by the presence of red, scaly patches that form on specific areas of the body. These patches can cause itching and irritation, with the intensity varying among individuals. They emerge in response to skin inflammation caused by a malfunction of the immune system. T lymphocytes are responsible for the production of inflammatory molecules such as cytokines (IL-17, IL-22, TNF- α, etc.).

These substances stimulate the multiplication of keratinocytes, cells found in the skin. As a result, the normal rate of cell renewal, which would typically take three weeks, is accelerated to just three days. This process leads to an accumulation of immature keratinocytes on the skin's surface, increasing the thickness of the superficial layer, thus forming a hyperkeratosis.

Genetic predispositions can also be a factor in the onset of psoriasis. At least 30% of psoriasis cases correspond to family forms. Several genes are involved, particularly genetic variances in immunity genes causing an immune system imbalance. Studies have shown that the positivity of the HLA-Cw6 gene is associated with the early onset of psoriasis and the severe progression of the disease. However, additional studies need to be conducted to understand the underlying mechanisms.

What is the connection between smoking and psoriasis?

While the exact mechanisms are not yet fully understood, emerging evidence suggests an association between smoking and psoriasis. The components of tobacco can potentially trigger systemic inflammation, thereby exacerbating the inflammatory processes already at work in psoriasis. Observational studies have shown a high prevalence of psoriasis among smokers, reinforcing the hypothesis of a relationship between the two.

The data suggests that smoking can influence the severity of psoriasis. Smokers with psoriasis are likely to develop severe forms of the disease. Interleukins IL-1β, IL-1β ⁄ IL-6, and TGF-β ⁄ IL-21 induce the expression of Th17 lymphocytes. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that tobacco smoke extract was capable of increasing Th17 expression in the presence of these cytokines. Indeed, tobacco smoke could induce the differentiation of Th17 lymphocytes, leading to the expression of IL-17 and IL-22.

Another study has shown that the combination of being a smoker and carrying the HLA-Cw6 gene was about 11 times higher than in non-smokers without the HLA-Cw6 gene. However, the mechanism to justify these observations has not yet been established. Furthermore, it has been shown that nicotine induces an increase in the secretion of several cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-12, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and IL-2, which are involved in the pathogenesis of psoriasis.

For individuals who smoke and suffer from psoriasis, it is crucial to understand the potential risks. Quitting smoking improves skin health and reduces the severity of symptoms. For this, consulting a healthcare professional is advisable to obtain support and advice.


  • TORII K. & al. Tobacco smoke is related to Th17 generation with clinical implications for psoriasis patients. Experimental Dermatology (2011).

  • NALDI L. Psoriasis and smoking: links and risks. Psoriasis: Targets and Therapy (2016).


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