Establishment of a psoriasis biobank for genetic studies
To identify new genetic factors with obvious functional consequences that contribute to the risk for psoriasis we have initiated a collection of psoriatic-related blood samples and biopsies. This will open new possibilities for in-depth investigations on gene expression in psoriatic skin, such as RNA sequencing. Psoriasis is a common skin disorder that is associated with a high degree of morbidity and comorbidity, including increased risk for cardiovascular disease and inflammatory bowel disease. A strong genetic basis for psoriasis is now well established and heritability is estimated at 60-90%. Genetic studies have so far made successful contributions to the understanding of psoriasis, including informing the development of highly effective treatments. However, less than 25% of psoriasis heritability has been accounted for, hence a substantial proportion of the genetic risk for psoriasis is yet to be identified. In this study we aim to identify new genetic factors with obvious functional consequences that contribute to the risk for psoriasis. In particular, we will examine synergies between DNA, RNA, and proteins. For these purposes, we have established a collection of psoriatic-related blood samples and skin biopsies to study basic mechanisms of how genetic factors affect psoriasis development. This has been made possible through the funding from the Joint Research Committee between St. Olavs Hospital and the Faculty of Medicine, NTNU (“Two-year research projects”). To date, we have stored skin biopsies from 15 psoriatic cases and 32 non-psoriatic controls, and the recruitment is ongoing. The collection is done in collaboration with Department of Dermatology, St. Olavs Hospital, private dermatologists in Helse Midt-Norge, general practitioners in Trondheim municipality, and “Psoriasis og eksem forbundet”. We are utilizing well-established research infrastructures at St. Olavs Hospital and NTNU, including the Clinical Research Facility and Biobank1. We aim to further increase the number of study participants in 2017. We have made preliminary agreements with the NTNU Genomic Core Facility (described below) to perform RNA extraction, concentration and normalisation of the skin biopsies. We have obtained preliminary RNA extraction data on four skin biopsies that show high-quality RNA, and similar RNA extraction procedures will be followed in the study. We have further obtained funding from the Joint Research Committee between St. Olavs Hospital and the Faculty of Medicine, NTNU (“Two-year research projects”, PI Løset) to perform RNA sequencing of the skin samples. We plan to perform this at NTNU Genomics Core Facility in spring 2018. Identification of novel genes that are associated with psoriasis can offer the potential to identify new drug targets for treatment and prevention.