Scientists in the United States have pointed the finger at seven genes that appear to play a role in psoriasis, a study published on Sunday says.
The work could unlock new drug targets and tailored treatments for this painful, disfiguring skin disease, they said.
Researchers led by James Elder, a professor of dermatology at the University of Michigan, cast a net through the genetic codes of 1,409 people with psoriasis and 1,436 healthy counterparts of European ancestry, looking for telltale variations in key genes.
They then expanded the study to look at 21 of the most interesting DNA "hotspots" among an additional 5,048 cases of psoriasis and 5,041 "controls."
Variations in at least seven genes point to the risk of an uncontrolled immune response that leads to psoriasis, the paper says.
Some of the highlighted genes are already targeted by effective psoriasis therapies, but others could become targets for treatments of the future, according to the research, published online in the journal Nature Genetics.
Psoriasis causes sore, red, scaly skin, and may also lead to psoriatic arthritis, in which the joints become badly inflamed.