Author(s): Denton CP, Xu S, Black CM, Pearson JD
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Abstract Fibroblasts cultured from lesional skin in scleroderma (systemic sclerosis) demonstrate an activated phenotype that may be important in pathogenesis. Endothelial cell-derived cytokines can modulate fibroblast properties, and endothelial cell changes occur early in scleroderma. Thus, endothelial cell and fibroblast dysfunction may be linked through the paracrine activity of soluble endothelial cell products. We have explored endothelial cell-fibroblast interactions in vitro by investigating the modulation of scleroderma and control fibroblast properties by endothelial cell-conditioned medium (EC-CM). EC-CM caused a concentration-dependent stimulation of fibroblast DNA and protein synthesis and upregulation of cell surface ICAM-1 expression. Scleroderma fibroblasts showed consistently greater responses than control cells. Medium conditioned by mechanically wounded endothelial cells had a greater effect than that from resting endothelial cells. Pre-incubation of EC-CM with anti-bFGF significantly reduced the promotion of fibroblast thymidine incorporation but did not affect endothelial cell-induced leucine incorporation. Conversely, anti-IL-1 antibodies abrogated EC-CM-induced leucine incorporation and ICAM-1 expression but did not diminish thymidine incorporation. Recombinant bFGF or IL-1 modulated fibroblast properties similarly. These data demonstrate that endothelial cell-derived IL-1 and bFGF modulate fibroblast properties independently and that lesional scleroderma strains are more responsive than control fibroblasts to endothelial cell-induced modulation, which supports the hypothesis that altered endothelial cell-fibroblast communication may be involved in the pathogenesis of scleroderma.
This article was published in J Invest Dermatol
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy