A TGF beta-Responsive Gene Signature Is Associated with a Subset of Diffuse Scleroderma with Increased Disease Severity
ABSTRACT Systemic sclerosis is a complex disease with widespread skin fibrosis and variable visceral organ involvement. Since transforming growth factor-beta (TGFbeta) has been implicated in driving fibrosis in systemic sclerosis, a mechanism-derived gene expression signature was used to assay TGFbeta-responsive gene expression in the skin of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc). Primary dermal fibroblasts from patients with diffuse SSc (dSSc) and healthy controls were treated with TGFbeta, and the genome-wide gene expression was measured on DNA microarrays over a time course of 24 hours. Eight hundred and ninety-four probes representing 674 uniquely annotated genes were identified as TGFbeta responsive. Expression of the TGFbeta-responsive signature was examined in skin biopsies from 17 dSSc, seven limited SSc (lSSc), three morphea patients, and six healthy controls. The TGFbeta-responsive signature was expressed in 10 out of 17 dSSc skin biopsies, but was not found in lSSc, morphea, or healthy control biopsies. Expression of dSSC the TGFbeta-responsive signature stratifies patients into two major groups, one of which corresponds to the "diffuse-proliferation" intrinsic subset that showed higher modified Rodnan skin score and a higher likelihood of scleroderma lung disease. The TGFbeta-responsive signature is found in only a subset of dSSc patients who could be targeted by specific therapies.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Swati Bhattacharyya, Jan 21, 2015
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Article: A TGF beta-Responsive Gene Signature Is Associated with a Subset of Diffuse Scleroderma with Increased Disease Severity
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ABSTRACT: Significant advances have been made in understanding the genetic basis of systemic sclerosis (SSc) in recent years. Genomewide association and other large-scale genetic studies have identified 30 largely immunity-related genes which are significantly associated with SSc. We review these studies, along with genomewide expression studies, proteomic studies, genetic mouse models, and insights from rare sclerodermatous diseases. Collectively, these studies have begun to identify pathways that are relevant to SSc pathogenesis. The findings presented in this review illustrate how both genetic and genomic aberrations play important roles in the development of SSc. However, despite these recent discoveries, there remain major gaps between current knowledge of SSc, a unified understanding of pathogenesis, and effective treatment. To this aim, we address the important issue of SSc heterogeneity and discuss how future research needs to address this in order to develop a clearer understanding of this devastating and complex disease.Current Rheumatology Reports 03/2015; 17(3):484. DOI:10.1007/s11926-014-0484-x · 2.45 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Genome-wide expression profiling in systemic sclerosis (SSc) has identified four 'intrinsic' subsets of disease (fibroproliferative, inflammatory, limited, and normal-like), each of which shows deregulation of distinct signaling pathways; however, the full set of pathways contributing to this differential gene expression has not been fully elucidated. Here we examine experimentally derived gene expression signatures in dermal fibroblasts for thirteen different signaling pathways implicated in SSc pathogenesis. These data show distinct and overlapping sets of genes induced by each pathway, allowing for a better understanding of the molecular relationship between profibrotic and immune signaling networks. Pathway-specific gene signatures were analyzed across a compendium of microarray datasets consisting of skin biopsies from three independent cohorts representing 80 SSc patients, 4 morphea, and 26 controls. IFNα signaling showed a strong association with early disease, while TGFβ signaling spanned the fibroproliferative and inflammatory subsets, was associated with worse MRSS, and was higher in lesional than non-lesional skin. The fibroproliferative subset was most strongly associated with PDGF signaling, while the inflammatory subset demonstrated strong activation of innate immune pathways including TLR signaling upstream of NF-κB. The limited and normal-like subsets did not show associations with fibrotic and inflammatory mediators such as TGFβ and TNFα. The normal-like subset showed high expression of genes associated with lipid signaling, which was absent in the inflammatory and limited subsets. Together, these data suggest a model by which IFNα is involved in early disease pathology, and disease severity is associated with active TGFβ signaling.PLoS ONE 01/2015; 10(1):e0114017. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0114017 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The Tight Skin 2 (Tsk2) mouse model of systemic sclerosis (SSc) has many features of the human disease including tight skin, fibrosis, extracellular matrix abnormalities, and reported antinuclear antibodies (ANA). Here we report that Tsk2/+ mice develop excess dermal fibrosis with age, as skin is not significantly fibrotic until 10 weeks, a full eight weeks after the development of the physical tight skin phenotype. Concomitantly with the tight skin phenotype at two weeks of age, Tsk2/+ mice demonstrate increased levels of total transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) and excessive accumulation of dermal elastic fibers. The increase in elastic fibers is not responsible for tight skin, however, because Tsk2/+ mice genetically engineered to lack skin elastic fibers nevertheless have tight skin and fibrosis. Finally, about two months after the first measurable increases of total collagen, a portion of Tsk2/+ mice produce ANAs, but at a similar level to wild-type littermates. The timeline of disease development in the Tsk2/+ mouse shows that fibrosis is progressive, with elastic fiber alterations and TGF-β1 over-production occurring at least two months before bona fide fibrosis, that is not dependent on ANA production.