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Tumor Necrosis Factor-Costimulated T Lymphocytes From Patients With Systemic Sclerosis Trigger Collagen Production in Fibroblasts

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Thomas Huegle, Dr Steven O'Reilly, Rachel Simpson, Dr Venetia BigleyORCiD, Professor Matthew CollinORCiD, Dr Anja Krippner-Heidenreich, Professor Jaap Van Laar


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Objective. The role of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in systemic sclerosis (SSc) remains controversial. The present study was undertaken to investigate the influence of TNF receptor (TNFR)-costimulated lymphocytes on collagen expression in fibroblasts. Methods. TNFR expression on mononuclear cells from the dermis and blood of SSc patients was assessed by flow cytometry. Peripheral blood CD3+ lymphocytes were activated with CD3/CD28 beads and costimulated with TNFR-selective variants. Expression of interleukin-6 (IL-6), soluble IL-6 receptor (sIL-6R), IL-10, and IL-13 was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Healthy fibroblasts were incubated with conditioned media from TNFR-costimulated T lymphocytes, and type I collagen expression was quantified. Results. TNFRI and TNFRII were up-regulated on dermal T lymphocytes from patients with diffuse cutaneous SSc. TNFRII expression correlated with skin thickening. After CD3/CD28 activation, peripheral blood lymphocytes from SSc patients produced more IL-6, sIL-6R, and IL-13 compared to healthy lymphocytes. Costimulation with TNFRI-selective ligands and soluble TNF further increased IL-6 expression, whereas costimulation with TNFRII led to greater release of sIL-6R. IL-10 expression, which normally occurs after TNFRII costimulation, was impaired in SSc T cells. Supernatants of TNF-costimulated SSc lymphocytes induced higher type I collagen expression in fibroblasts, which was partially reversible by dual inhibition of IL-6 and IL-13. Expression of TNFR and IL-6 in the dermis was reversible in a patient who received lymphoablative therapy prior to autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Conclusion. TNF-costimulated T lymphocytes from SSc patients have a propensity to secrete profibrotic cytokines, while the ability to produce IL-10 is weakened. These results suggest that T lymphocytes in SSc support fibrosis, but might lack the capacity to resolve inflammation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hugle T, O'Reilly S, Simpson R, Kraaij MD, Bigley V, Collin M, Krippner-Heidenreich A, van Laar JM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Arthritis & Rheumatism

Year: 2013

Volume: 65

Issue: 2

Pages: 481-491

Print publication date: 28/01/2013

ISSN (print): 0004-3591

ISSN (electronic): 1529-0131

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


DOI: 10.1002/art.37738


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