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J Immunol. 1999 Nov 15;163(10):5693-9.

Anti-TGF-beta treatment prevents skin and lung fibrosis in murine sclerodermatous graft-versus-host disease: a model for human scleroderma.

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Department of Dermatology, Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals of Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


Scleroderma, a debilitating acquired connective tissue disease, is characterized by fibrosis, particularly of the skin and lungs. Monocyte-produced TGF-beta1, a potent stimulus for collagen synthesis, is thought to drive the fibrosis. Here, we thoroughly characterize a murine sclerodermatous graft-vs-host disease (Scl GVHD) model for scleroderma that reproduces important features of scleroderma including skin thickening, lung fibrosis, and up-regulation of cutaneous collagen mRNA, which is preceded by monocyte infiltration and the up-regulation of cutaneous TGF-beta1 mRNA. Most importantly, we can prevent fibrosis in both the skin and lungs of mice with Scl GVHD by inhibiting TGF-beta with neutralizing Abs. The murine Scl GVHD model provides the unique opportunity to study basic immunologic mechanisms that drive fibrosing diseases and GVHD itself and will be useful for testing new therapies for these diseases.

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