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(sôrī`əsĭs), occasionally acute but usually chronic and recurrent inflammation of the skin. The exact cause is unknown, but the disease appears to be an inherited, possibly autoimmune disorder that causes the overproduction of skin cells. Psoriasis may occur at any age but is uncommon in children. The characteristic lesion is a scaly "mother-of-pearl" patch, appearing anywhere on the body. Involvement may range from a single plaque to numerous patches that cover most of the skin. A variety of treatments are used for patients with mild to moderate cases. Treatments directed at the symptoms include the application of ointments and exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet (UVB) light. Retinoids help stabilize follicular epithelial cells. Vitamin D analogs and metabolites, although effective in treatment, have side effects. Photochemotherapy (psoralen combined with UVA radiation) is also effective, but increases the risk of skin cancer. Alfacept and other drugs that interfere with T-cell (see immunityimmunity,
ability of an organism to resist disease by identifying and destroying foreign substances or organisms. Although all animals have some immune capabilities, little is known about nonmammalian immunity.
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) activation, and etanercept, infliximab, and other drugs that block tumor-necrosis factor are effective in many patients with moderate to severe psoriasis.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a chronic recurrent noncontagious skin disease of man. Neuropsychic traumas and metabolic and endocrine disorders play a part in the development of psoriasis. The disease may also be viral or genetic in nature.

Eruptions may appear anywhere on the skin but generally occur on the elbows, knees, sacral region, and scalp. The disease becomes acute with the appearance of small pink-red papules covered with silvery scales that readily slough off. When the papules are scraped, the scales fall off in small particles, revealing a smooth shiny surface underneath. Further scraping produces small drops of blood. The papules rapidly enlarge, often coalescing to form plaques. This process may be circumscribed, disseminated, or generalized (erythroderma psoriaticum). When the papules and plaques reach a certain size, they stop growing and then harden, shrink, and disappear, leaving depigmented or hyperpigmented spots.

There are thus three stages of psoriasis: progressive (appearance and growth of papules), stationary (stable), and regressive (hardening and disappearance of papules). Sometimes the nail plates are affected, and their surface becomes thimble-like. In some patients, the eruptions are accompanied by swelling and tenderness of the joints (psoriasis anthropathica).

Treatment is effected by administering vitamins A, B1, B6, and B12, tranquilizers, and hormones, by means of ultraviolet radiation and application of paraffin and desquamative and resorbing ointments, and by health-resort therapy.


Mashkilleison, L. N. Chastnaia dermatologiia. Moscow, 1965. Pages 161–216.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A usually chronic, often acute inflammatory skin disease of unknown cause; characterized by dull red, well-defined lesions covered by silvery scales which when removed disclose tiny capillary bleeding points.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a skin disease characterized by the formation of reddish spots and patches covered with silvery scales: tends to run in families
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The lesions resemble pustular psoriasis on the mucous membranes of the mouth and tongue (1, 13, 14).
In our study, a female patient with pustular psoriasis treated with methotrexate, cyclosporine and retinoids consequently developed hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidaemia.
Inclusion criteria were as follows: a) clinical diagnosis of psoriasis vulgaris, erythrodermic psoriasis, arthropathic psoriasis, or pustular psoriasis (palm and plantar only) (17); b) age from 16 to 78 years old of both genders; c) without serious cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, liver or kidney functional damage; d) psoriasis vulgaris patients should not be using systemic medication for the last 3 months but applying topical drugs; erythrodermic psoriasis patients should not be using systemic medication in the last 3 months but applying long-term topical emollients; arthropathic psoriasis patients should be using no drugs; and pustular psoriasis patients (palm and plantar only) should not be using systemic medication but undergoing ultraviolet A irradiation.
These include erythrodermic psoriasis and pustular psoriasis. Psoriatic arthropathy is well recognised but uncommon in children.
There are two forms of psoriasis, classical or psoriasis vulgaris and pustular psoriasis. (1) Psoriasis vulgaris is the commonest type of psoriasis, accounting for 90 % of all cases.
Whether or not acute pustular psoriasis of pregnancy (APPP) is actually a pregnancy-induced dermatosis is subject to debate.
* Pustular psoriasis may be generalised or localised to the palms and soles.
Only 1 (0.5%) patient had generalized pustular psoriasis. In addition, 21 (10.6%) children suffered from nummulare and plaque-type psoriasis accompanied with the exudative character of lesion, which was diagnosed as exudative-type psoriasis.
Another disorder previously thought to be a dermatosis of pregnancy is impetigo herpetiformis, now generally regarded as a variant of pustular psoriasis, Dr.