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J Invest Dermatol. 2005 Jan;124(1):92-8.

The -2518 promotor polymorphism in the MCP-1 gene is associated with systemic sclerosis.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.


Factors influencing the initiation or progression of sclerosis in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) are poorly understood. Monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) is a potent chemokine, which is upregulated in fibroblasts during development of sclerosis. In this study, we investigated the frequency of the functional -2518G MCP-1 promoter polymorphism in 18 patients with SSc and 139 healthy controls. In the lesional skin of the same SSc patients, expression of MCP-1 protein was examined by immunohistochemistry. To investigate a genotype/phenotype correlation, basal as well as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-induced MCP-1 expression was analyzed in fibroblasts isolated from the skin of SSc patients with different MCP-1 genotypes by quantitative RT-PCR and ELISA. Genotyping for the -2518 (A/G) MCP-1 promotor polymorphism showed that GG homozygotes were significantly more frequent in patients with SSc than in controls (28%vs 6%). Results of immunohistochemistry revealed that MCP-1 was expressed in keratinocytes, infiltrating inflammatory cells, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells in scleroderma skin, whereas normal control skin showed no MCP-1 expression. MCP-1 expression in fibroblasts from GG-homozygote individuals tended to be stronger as compared to AG or AA genotypes. Furthermore, basal as well as TNF-induced MCP-1 expression of fibroblasts isolated from a GG-homozygote SSc patient was significantly higher than MCP-1 expression of fibroblasts isolated from heterozygote or AA-homozygote donors. The A -2518G polymorphism of the MCP-1 gene appears to affect MCP-1 expression of skin fibroblasts of patients with SSc. In accordance, the G/G genotype may predispose patients to SSc.

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