JAMA Dermatol. 2023 Jan 25. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2022.6051. Online ahead of print.
IMPORTANCE: Lipid pathways have been implicated in the pathogenesis of psoriasis, and some lipid-lowering drugs, such as statins, are hypothesized to have disease-modifying properties. However, large population-level studies are scarce, and causal interpretation of results from traditional observational designs is limited by confounding.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the causal association between genetically proxied lipid-lowering drugs and psoriasis risk.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This 2-sample mendelian randomization study was performed from August to October 2022 and included population-level genome-wide association studies of psoriasis in the UK Biobank and FinnGen studies and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) by the Global Lipids Genetics Consortium. The inverse variance-weighted method was used with pleiotropy robust methods and colocalization as sensitivity analyses.
EXPOSURES: Genetically proxied inhibition of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase (HMGCR, targeted by statins), Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 (NPC1L1, targeted by ezetimibe), and proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9, targeted by, eg, alirocumab), using LDL as the biomarker.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Risk of psoriasis.
RESULTS: Data from 12 116 patients with psoriasis and approximately 1.3 million individuals with LDL measurement were analyzed. Genetically proxied PCSK9 inhibition was associated with reduced risk of psoriasis (odds ratio, 0.69 per standard deviation reduction in LDL; 95% CI, 0.55-0.88; P = .003), which was replicated in FinnGen (odds ratio, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.57-0.88; P = .002). Sensitivity analyses did not provide statistical evidence of bias from pleiotropy or genetic confounding. No robust association was found for HMGCR or NPC1L1 inhibition.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: This mendelian randomization study suggests that PCSK9 is implicated in psoriasis pathogenesis, and its inhibition is associated with reduced psoriasis risk. These findings potentially pave the way for future studies that may allow personalized selection of lipid-lowering drugs for those at risk of psoriasis.