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J Invest Dermatol. 2003 Oct;121(4):713-9.

Latency-associated peptide prevents skin fibrosis in murine sclerodermatous graft-versus-host disease, a model for human scleroderma.

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1
Department of Dermatology, Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio 44106-5028, USA.

Abstract

Murine sclerodermatous graft-versus-host disease (Scl GVHD), produced by transplanting B10.D2 bone marrow and spleen cells to lethally irradiated BALB/cJ mice, is a model for human scleroderma. Mice with Scl GVHD have skin thickening, lung fibrosis, cutaneous mononuclear cell infiltration, and upregulation of cutaneous transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-beta1) and type I collagen mRNAs by day 21 after bone marrow transplantation. Elevated TGF-beta1 appears to be the critical cytokine driving fibrosis in Scl GVHD, which can be prevented with antibodies to TGF-beta administered early in disease. Here we demonstrate that we can also prevent skin thickening in mice with Scl GVHD with a naturally occurring antagonist to TGF-beta1, human latency-associated peptide (LAP). By quantitative real-time PCR analysis and immunostaining, LAP treatment also abrogates the upregulation of cutaneous TGF-beta1 and connective tissue growth factor mRNAs and type I collagen synthesis in Scl GVHD. In contrast to anti-TGF-beta antibodies, LAP at 4 ng total per mouse has no significant suppressive effect on cutaneous influx of T cells and monocytes or immune cell activation. LAP may be a potential new therapy in scleroderma and other TGF-beta-driven fibrosing disease that targets TGF-beta more specifically, without affecting systemic critical roles of TGF-beta on immune cell function.

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