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J Rheumatol. 2001 Jul;28(7):1568-72.

Cyclooxygenase-2 expression and prostaglandin E2 biosynthesis are enhanced in scleroderma fibroblasts and inhibited by UVA irradiation.

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Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Kagoshima University, Japan.



We and others reported on the beneficial effects of combined therapy using 8-methoxypsoralen and long wave ultraviolet light (PUVA therapy) in the treatment of scleroderma. We now investigate the mechanism by which PUVA therapy is effective by comparing interleukin 1beta (IL-1beta) mediated signal transduction in scleroderma fibroblasts and those from normal skin.


Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production and expression of cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2), cyclooxygenase (COX)-1, and COX-2 (enzymes that regulate PGE2 production) were examined in untreated and IL-1beta treated fibroblasts from scleroderma involved and normal skin. The effect of UVA irradiation on enzyme expression and PGE2 production was examined. PGE2 was measured by a competitive radioimmunoassay and enzyme expression was analyzed by Western immunoblotting and Northern blotting.


Constitutive PGE2 production was significantly upregulated and IL-1beta induced PGE2 production was increased by the enhancing expression of both COX-2 mRNA and protein in fibroblasts from scleroderma involved skin; PGE2 production and COX-2 expression were inhibited by UVA irradiation.


Enhanced PGE2 production regulated by COX-2 expression in scleroderma fibroblasts may contribute to the development of this disorder. PUVA therapy might exhibit its beneficial effect, at least in part, by inhibiting COX-2 expression transcriptionally and translationally, with subsequent inhibition of PGE2 production.

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