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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2008 Apr;47(4):454-7. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/ken058. Epub 2008 Mar 3.

Mouse model of dermal fibrosis induced by one-time injection of bleomycin-poly(L-lactic acid) microspheres.

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Department of Dermatology, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, 3-39-22 Showa-machi, Maebashi, Gunma, 371-8511, Japan.



Animal models are useful tools to study various aspects of human diseases. Bleomycin (BLM)-induced scleroderma mouse has been widely investigated as an animal model of scleroderma. Repeated injections of BLM, either daily or every other day, for 3-4 weeks are required to induce scleroderma in mice. Poly(L-lactic acid) (PLA) is a biodegradable, biocompatible and bioabsorbable device that has been widely investigated for controlled drug release. In this study, we fabricated BLM-containing PLA microspheres and subcutaneously injected them into C3H mice for only one time.


Treated skins were harvested at days 7 and 21. Then, histological examination and collagen content measurement assay were performed. The mRNA expression of alpha1(I) collagen (COL1A1), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), TGF-beta(1) and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) were quantified by real-time PCR.


Dermal fibrosis was histologically observed at day 7 after injection and remained present at day 21. Tissue responses against BLM-PLA microspheres alone were mild. Soluble collagen content and expression level of alpha1(I) collagen mRNA were significantly elevated at day 21. Expression levels of MCP-1 mRNA and TGF-beta(1) mRNA at day 7 and CTGF mRNA at day 21 were also elevated.


The present study demonstrated for the first time that one-time injection of BLM-PLA microspheres can induce dermal fibrosis in C3H mice. BLM-PLA microspheres thus offer a labour-saving, simple and powerful tool to establish an animal model of BLM-induced dermal fibrosis.

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