Nov. 29 (UPI) -- A new mouse study suggests vanillin, artificial vanilla extract, could be used to prevent or diminish psoriatic skin inflammation.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease characterized by outbreaks of red, itchy, and scaly skin patches, most frequently on the elbows, knees or scalp. Some 125 million people worldwide have the disorder. In the United States, there are 6.7 million people with psoriasis, roughly 3.1 percent of the population.
A group of scientists in Taiwan were able to replicate the disorder in a group of mice by exposing their skin to a compound called imiquimod. For seven days, researchers gave the mice oral doses of vanillin. Some mice received larger doses than others.
The mice that received the largest doses -- 50 or 100 milligrams per kilogram of body weight -- experienced the largest reductions in skin inflammation.
"Our findings suggested that vanillin was an effective bioactive compound against psoriatic skin inflammation," researchers concluded in their study, published this week in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Scientists also found vanillin doses suppressed IL-17 and IL-23 protein levels -- interleukins believed to be linked with the development of the disorder.
Previous research has shown vanillin to also affect interleukins related to other inflammatory conditions and diseases.