Is Psoriasis Genetic?

Is psoriasis a condition that is inherited genetically? 

Doctor Answers 1

Yes, Psoriasis is Genetic

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Thanks for a most interesting question.

This is a hot area for research both by dermatologists and geneticists. The latter find psoriasis genetic research fascinating.

Patients with psoriasis often ask me whether they will have it their whole life. Will there be a cure for it? At the present time, I feel the only cure looming is in gene therapy. If you remember, the man who died during the first gene therapy treatment at the University of Pennsylvania. Well, the gene therapy was for psoriasis.

Researchers believe that approximately ten per cent of the population inherits at least one of the genes for psoriasis. Yet, only 2-3 per cent of the population is afflicted with the scaling disorder.

It seems that you need the right "mix" of genes to develop psoriasis. If both parents possess a number of psoriasis genes, you are very likely to develop psoriasis. In your case, this would depend on your wife's genetic pool. Your children would be far less likely to develop psoriasis if she does not possess a psoriasis gene.

There are some people, including myself, who have psoriasis, yet cannot find a case in the family tree. Still, I most likely have psoriasis genetically. I may have inherited two genes from say my father and two from my mother--neither of whom had all four and therefore never developed it.

Although I hope I have answered your question at this point I would like to go further. The good people at do not edit our answers do I don't have to worry about the big red making pencil "X" ing my work. ( Do they still do that--it's forty years since my last journalism job!).

There are probably factors which cause the genes to become activated. It may be infections (especially strep but perhaps Candida in some people) or stress, or irritation or chemicals ( elbows and knees and hands). This, I am sure, accounts for the tendency for psoriasis to wax and wane. It also explains why, in nearly every study I have read regarding psoriasis, the placebo performs surprisingly well.

There are also some genetic changes which might explain why psoriasis occurs.

Some chemicals in the DNA may have errors. This might lead to the absence of crucial proteins. It might also cause the proteins to be misshapen or in the wrong location.

Alternatively, some genes may be turned on or off at the wrong rate, because of errors in the regions of DNA that control the production of proteins.

Virginia Beach Dermatologist

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