Overexpression of monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 in systemic sclerosis: role of platelet-derived growth factor and effects on monocyte chemotaxis and collagen synthesis.

Arthritis & Rheumatism 44(11):2665 (2001) PMID 11710722

In addition to its chemotactic properties, recent evidence suggests that monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) might participate in the fibrotic process by inducing the secretion of extracellular matrix (ECM) components. Since the factors that initiate the accumulation of inflammatory infiltrates and ECM deposits in systemic sclerosis (SSc) skin lesions are still unknown, this study was undertaken to examine the role of MCP-1 in SSc. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry studies for MCP-1 were performed on skin biopsy specimens from patients with SSc and healthy controls. To identify possible stimulators of MCP-1 overexpression in SSc lesions, cultured dermal fibroblasts were incubated with recombinant platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and analyzed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The chemotactic effects of SSc fibroblasts were examined using a modified Boyden chamber assay. To analyze the fibrotic potential of MCP-1, cultured dermal fibroblasts were incubated with recombinant MCP-1, and type I procollagen was measured by radioimmunoassay and real-time PCR. MCP-1 was expressed by fibroblasts, keratinocytes, and perivascular infiltrates throughout the skin, in involved as well as uninvolved skin areas, from 10 of 11 SSc patients, whereas no expression of MCP-1 was found in healthy controls. Stimulation with PDGF resulted in a significant increase in MCP-1 messenger RNA and protein, with differences between healthy control fibroblasts and fibroblasts from SSc patients. The chemotactic activity for peripheral blood mononuclear cells of SSc fibroblast supernatants increased in a time-dependent manner. Antibodies blocking MCP-1 decreased the chemotactic activity of SSc fibroblasts by a mean +/- SD of 37 +/- 12%. Despite an increase in type I collagen levels over time, no effect of recombinant MCP-1 on the synthesis of type I collagen was observed. These data indicate that MCP-1 might contribute to the initiation of inflammatory infiltrates in SSc. Possible stimuli of MCP-1 in dermal SSc lesions include PDGF, which is known to be expressed in SSc. In contrast to previous findings in fibrotic lung diseases, no effect of MCP-1 on collagen synthesis was observed in SSc dermal fibroblasts in vitro.