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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Oxidative stress in scleroderma: maintenance of scleroderma fibroblast phenotype by the constitutive up-regulation of reactive oxygen species generation through the NADPH oxidase complex pathway.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the in vitro activation of skin fibroblasts from patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc). METHODS: Fibroblasts were obtained from involved skin of patients with limited or diffuse SSc. Oxidative activity imaging in living cells was carried out using confocal microscopy. Levels of O2- and H2O2 released from fibroblasts were estimated by the superoxide dismutase (SOD)-inhibitable cytochrome c reduction and homovanilic acid assays, respectively. To verify NADPH oxidase activation, the light membrane of fibroblasts was immunoblotted with an anti-p47phox-specific antibody. Fibroblasts were stimulated with various cytokines and growth factors to determine whether any of these factors modulate ROS generation. Cell proliferation was estimated by 3H-thymidine incorporation. Northern blot analysis was used to study alpha1 and alpha2 type I collagen gene expression. RESULTS: Unstimulated skin fibroblasts from SSc patients released more O2- and H2O2 in vitro through the NADPH oxidase complex pathway than did normal fibroblasts, since incubation of SSc fibroblasts with diphenylene iodonium, a flavoprotein inhibitor, suppressed the generation of ROS. This suppression was not seen with rotenone, a mitochondrial oxidase inhibitor, or allopurinol, a xanthine oxidase inhibitor. Furthermore, the cytosolic component of NADPH oxidase, p47phox, was translocated to the plasma membrane of resting SSc fibroblasts. A transient increase in ROS production was induced in normal but not in SSc fibroblasts by interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), platelet-derived growth factor type BB (PDGF-BB), transforming growth factor beta1 (TGFbeta1), and H2O2. Treatment of normal and SSc fibroblasts with tumor necrosis factor a (TNFalpha), IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, interferon-alpha (IFNalpha), IFNgamma, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSP), G-CSF, or connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) had no effect on ROS generation. Constitutive ROS production by SSc fibroblasts was not inhibited when these cells were treated with catalase, SOD, IL-1 receptor antagonist, or antibodies blocking the effect of TGFbeta1, PDGF-BB, and other agonists (IL-4, IL-6, TNFalpha, CTGF). In contrast, treatment of SSc fibroblasts with the membrane-permeant antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine inhibited ROS production, and this was accompanied by decreased proliferation of these cells and down-regulation of alpha1(I) and alpha2(I) collagen messenger RNA. CONCLUSION: The constitutive intracellular production of ROS by SSc fibroblasts derives from the activation of an NADPH oxidase-like system and is essential to fibroblast proliferation and expression of type I collagen genes in SSc cells. Our results also exclude O2-, H2O2, IL-1beta, TGFbeta1, PDGF-BB, IL-4, IL-6, TNFalpha, or CTGF as mediators of a positive, autocrine feedback mechanism of ROS generation.[1]


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