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Study sheds light on deadly lung disease
Date:4/14/2008

Systemic sclerosis (SSc), also known as scleroderma, is characterized by the formation of fibrosis, or scar tissue, on internal organs as well as the skin. Beyond its disfiguring symptoms, SSc is associated with a high rate of deadly lung disease. Pulmonary fibrosis strikes at least one-third of SSc sufferers, and kills 30 percent within 10 years. Assessing and treating SSc remains challenging, despite recent clinical trials, due in part to an incomplete understanding of the origins and progression of this autoimmune disorder.

To add to the understanding of SSc, particularly as it relates to lung fibrosis, researchers with the Royal Free and University College Medical School and Royal Brompton Hospital in London conducted experiments on a novel mouse model of scleroderma. Their results, published in the April 2008 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis), provide insight into extreme vulnerability to fibrosis associated with injury to alveolar epithelial cells (AECs)cells that line the tiny air sacs in the lungsaggravated by the expression of a major immune-system player, transforming growth factor (TGF ).

Led by Dr. Christopher P. Denton, the researchers generated a transgenic mouse strain, which develops ubiquitous skin and sporadic lung scar tissuecharacteristics similar to humans with SSc and pulmonary fibrosis. They then set out to test their hypothesis that these transgenic mice would be more susceptible than wild-type mice to lung disease. To induce minor lung injury, a single dose of either saline or the antibiotic bleomycina widely accepted model of SSc skin fibrosiswas administered surgically to populations of both transgenic and wild-type mice. Representatives from each mouse strain were left untreated to serve as controls. After 3, 7, 10, 14, 21, 35, and 60 days, lung samples
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Contact: Sean Wagner
swagner@bos.blackwellpublishing.com
781-388-8550
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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