Respiratory viruses cause substantial disease and are a significant healthcare burden. Virus-induced inflammation can be detrimental to the host, causing symptoms during acute infection and leading to damage that contributes to long-term residual lung disease. Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is a lipid mediator that is increased in response to many viral infections, and inhibition of PGE2 production during respiratory viral infection often leads to a decreased inflammatory response. We tested the hypothesis that PGE2 promotes inflammatory responses to mouse adenovirus type 1 (MAV-1) respiratory infection. Acute MAV-1 infection increased COX-2 expression and PGE2 production in wild type mice. Deficiency of the E prostanoid 2 receptor had no apparent effect on MAV-1 pathogenesis. Virus-induced induction of PGE2, IFN-γ, CXCL1, and CCL5 was reduced in mice deficient in microsomal PGE synthase-1 (mPGES-1-/- mice). However, there were no differences between mPGES-1+/+ and mPGES-1-/- mice in viral replication, recruitment of leukocytes to airways or lung inflammation. Infection of both mPGES‑1+/+ and mPGES-1-/- mice led to protection against reinfection. Thus, while PGE2 promotes the expression of a variety of cytokines in response to acute MAV-1 infection, PGE2 synthesis does not appear to be essential for generating pulmonary immunity.
A dynamic systems model was used to generate parameters describing a phenotype of Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal (HPA) behavior in a sample of 36 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and/ or fibromyalgia (FM) and 36 case-matched healthy controls. Altered neuroendocrine function, particularly in relation to somatic symptoms and poor sleep quality, may contribute to the pathophysiology of these disorders. Blood plasma was assayed for cortisol and ACTH every 10 min for 24 h. The dynamic model was specified with an ordinary differential equation using three parameters: (1) ACTH-adrenal signaling, (2) inhibitory feedback, and (3) non-ACTH influences. The model was ‘‘personalized’’ by estimating an individualized set of parameters from each participant’s data. Day and nighttime parameters were assessed separately. Two nocturnal parameters (ACTH-adrenal signaling and inhibitory feedback) significantly differentiated the two patient subgroups (“fatigue-predominant” patients with CFS only versus ‘‘pain-predominant’’ patients with FM and comorbid chronic fatigue) from controls (allp’s < .05), whereas daytime parameters and diurnal/nocturnal slopes did not. The same nocturnal parameters were significantly associated with somatic symptoms among patients (p’s < .05). There was a significantly different pattern of association between nocturnal non-ACTH influences and sleep quality among patients versus controls (p < .05). Although speculative, the finding that patient somatic symptoms decreased when more cortisol was produced per unit ACTH, is consistent with cortisol’s anti-inflammatory and sleep-modulatory effects. Patients’ HPA systems may compensate by promoting more rapid or sustained cortisol production. Mapping “behavioral phenotypes” of stress–arousal systems onto symptom clusters may help disentangle the pathophysiology of complex disorders with frequent comorbidity.
Psychoneuroendocrinology; Stress–arousal; Cortisol; Glucocorticoid resistance; Feedback sensitivity; Dynamical systems; Systems medicine; Personalized medicine; Sleep quality; Somatic symptoms; Functional somatic disorders; Fibromyalgia; Chronic fatigue syndrome
To develop responder definitions for fibromyalgia clinical trials using key symptom and functional domains.
24 candidate responder definitions were developed by expert consensus and evaluated in 12 randomized, placebo-controlled fibromyalgia trials of 4 medications. For each definition, treatment effects of the medication compared with placebo were analyzed using the Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test or Chi Square test. A meta-analysis of the pooled results for the 4 medications established risk ratios to determine the definitions that best favored medication over placebo.
Two definitions performed best in the analyses. Both definitions included ≥ 30% reduction in pain and ≥ 10% improvement in physical function. They differed in that one (FM30 short version) included ≥ 30% improvement in sleep or fatigue, and the other (FM30 long version) required ≥ 30% improvement in 2 of the following symptoms: sleep, fatigue, depression, anxiety, or cognition. In the analysis of both versions, the response rate was ≥ 15% for each medication and significantly greater than placebo. The risk ratio favoring drug over placebo (95% CI) in the pooled analysis for the FM30 short version was 1.50 (1.24, 1.82), P ≤ 0.0001; the FM30 long version was 1.60 (1.31, 1.96), P ≤ 0.00001.
Among the 24 responder definitions tested, 2 were identified as most sensitive in identifying response to treatment. The identification of responder definitions for fibromyalgia clinical trials that include assessments of key symptom and functional domains may improve the sensitivity of clinical trials to identify meaningful improvements, leading to improved management of fibromyalgia.
Women with fibromyalgia (FM) have symptoms of increased muscular fatigue and reduced exercise tolerance, which may be associated with alterations in muscle microcirculation and oxygen metabolism. This study used near-infrared diffuse optical spectroscopies to noninvasively evaluate muscle blood flow, blood oxygenation and oxygen metabolism during leg fatiguing exercise and during arm arterial cuff occlusion in post-menopausal women with and without FM.
Fourteen women with FM and twenty-three well-matched healthy controls participated in this study. For the fatiguing exercise protocol, the subject was instructed to perform 6 sets of 12 isometric contractions of knee extensor muscles with intensity steadily increasing from 20 to 70% maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC). For the cuff occlusion protocol, forearm arterial blood flow was occluded via a tourniquet on the upper arm for 3 minutes. Leg or arm muscle hemodynamics, including relative blood flow (rBF), oxy- and deoxy-hemoglobin concentration ([HbO2] and [Hb]), total hemoglobin concentration (THC) and blood oxygen saturation (StO2), were continuously monitored throughout protocols using a custom-built hybrid diffuse optical instrument that combined a commercial near-infrared oximeter for tissue oxygenation measurements and a custom-designed diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) flowmeter for tissue blood flow measurements. Relative oxygen extraction fraction (rOEF) and oxygen consumption rate (rVO2) were calculated from the measured blood flow and oxygenation data. Post-manipulation (fatiguing exercise or cuff occlusion) recovery in muscle hemodynamics was characterized by the recovery half-time, a time interval from the end of manipulation to the time that tissue hemodynamics reached a half-maximal value.
Subjects with FM had similar hemodynamic and metabolic response/recovery patterns as healthy controls during exercise and during arterial occlusion. However, tissue rOEF during exercise in subjects with FM was significantly lower than in healthy controls, and the half-times of oxygenation recovery (Δ[HbO2] and Δ[Hb]) were significantly longer following fatiguing exercise and cuff occlusion.
Our results suggest an alteration of muscle oxygen utilization in the FM population. This study demonstrates the potential of using combined diffuse optical spectroscopies (i.e., NIRS/DCS) to comprehensively evaluate tissue oxygen and flow kinetics in skeletal muscle.
Lipid mediators generated from metabolism of arachidonic acid play a crucial role in the initiating and resolution of acute inflammation by shifting from pro-inflammatory prostaglandin (PG) E2 to anti-inflammatory PGD2 and its metabolites. The changes in PG levels over time during the normal wound repair process have not, however, been reported. We determined the temporal expression of PG and their biosynthetic enzymes using the full thickness incisional model of normal wound healing in mice. We demonstrate that during normal wound repair, there is a shift in the metabolism of arachidonate from PGE2 during the acute inflammatory phase to PGD2 during the repair phase. This shift is mediated by temporal changes in the expression of cyclooxygenases (COX) and microsomal PGES (mPGES)-1. Inducible COX (COX-2) expression is sustained throughout the initiation and repair process, but mPGES-1 is increased only during the acute inflammatory phase and its disappearance coincides with increased PGD2. PGD2 and its degradation products are known to mediate their anti-inflammatory effects by binding to peroxisome proliferators activated receptor gamma (PPARγ). In this study, we show that PPARγ is upregulated during the resolution phase of wound repair concomitant with the shift to PGD2, and may be responsible for initiating endogenous mechanism resulting in healing/resolution.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease which primarily affects the synovial joints leading to inflammation, pain and joint deformities. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and glucocorticoids, both of which inhibit cyclooxygenase (COX), have been extensively used for treating RA patients. Prostaglandin E synthase (PGES) is a specific biosynthetic enzyme that acts downstream of COX and converts prostaglandin (PG) H2 to PGE2. Among PGES isozymes, microsomal PGES-1 (mPGES-1) has been shown to be induced in a variety of cells and tissues under inflammatory conditions. The induction of mPGES-1 in the synovial tissue of RA patients is closely associated with the activation of the tissue by proinflammatory cytokines. Although selective mPGES-1 inhibitors have not yet been widely available, mice lacking mPGES-1 (mPGES-1–/– mice) have been generated to evaluate the physiological and pathological roles of mPGES-1 in vivo. Recent studies utilizing mPGES-1–/– mice have demonstrated the significance of mPGES-1 in the process of chronic inflammation and evocation of humoral immune response in autoimmune arthritis models. These recent findings highlight mPGES-1 as a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of autoimmune inflammatory diseases, including RA. Currently, both natural and synthetic chemicals are being tested for inhibition of mPGES-1 activity to produce PGE2. The present review focuses on the recent advances in understanding the role of mPGES-1 in the pathophysiology of RA.
inflammation; microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1; prostaglandin E2; rheumatoid arthritis; T-cell-dependent humoral immunity
The idiopathic inflammatory myopathies are rare diseases for which data regarding the natural history, response to therapies and factors affecting mortality are needed. We performed this study to examine the effects of treatment and clinical features on survival in polymyositis and dermatomyositis patients.
A total of 160 consecutive patients (77 with polymyositis and 83 with dermatomyositis) seen at the University of Michigan from 1997 to 2003 were included. Medical records were abstracted for clinical, laboratory and therapeutic data, including initial steroid regimen and immunosuppressive use. State vital records were utilized to derive mortality and cause of death data. Survival was modeled by left-truncated Kaplan-Meier estimation and Cox regression.
The 5- and 10-year survival estimates were 77% (95% CI = 66 to 85), and 62% (95% CI = 48 to 73), respectively, and the rates were similar for polymyositis and dermatomyositis. Survival between the sexes was similar through 5 years and significantly lower thereafter for males (10-year survival: 18% male, 73% female; P = 0.002 for 5- to 10-year interval). The sex disparity was restricted to the polymyositis group. Increased age at diagnosis and non-Caucasian race were associated with lower survival. Intravenous versus oral corticosteroid use was associated with a higher risk of death among Caucasians (HR = 10.6, 95% CI = 2.1 to 52.8). Early survival between patients treated with methotrexate versus azathioprine was similar, but survival at 10 years was higher for the methotrexate-treated group (76% vs 52%, P = 0.046 for 5- to 10-year interval).
Patients treated initially with intravenous corticosteroids had higher mortality, which was likely related to disease severity. Both methotrexate and azathioprine showed similar early survival benefits as first-line immunosuppressive drugs. Survival was higher between 5 and 10 years in the methotrexate-treated group, but could not be confirmed in multivariable modeling for the full follow-up period. Other important predictors of long-term survival included younger age, female sex and Caucasian race.
To test the hypothesis that rheumatoid arthritis influenced levels of salivary biomarkers of periodontal disease.
Medical assessments, periodontal examinations, and pain ratings were obtained from 35 rheumatoid arthritis, 35 chronic periodontitis and 35 age and gender-matched healthy controls in a cross-sectional, case-controlled study. Unstimulated whole saliva samples were analyzed for interleukin-1β (IL-1β), matrix-metalloproteinase-8 (MMP-8) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF)-α concentrations.
The arthritis and healthy groups had significantly less oral disease than the periodontitis group (p<0.0001), with the arthritis group having significantly more sites bleeding on probing (BOP) than matched controls (p=0.012). Salivary levels of MMP-8 and IL-1β were significantly elevated in the periodontal disease group (p≤0.002), and IL-1β was the only biomarker with significantly higher levels in the arthritis group compared with controls (p=0.002). Arthritis patients receiving anti-TNF-α antibody therapy had significantly lower IL-1β and TNF-α levels compared with arthritis patients not on anti-TNF-α therapy (p=0.016, p=0.024) and healthy controls (p<0.001, p=0.011), respectively.
Rheumatoid arthritis patients have higher levels of periodontal inflammation than healthy controls, ie. increased BOP. Systemic inflammation appears to influence levels of select salivary biomarkers of periodontal disease, and anti-TNF-α antibody-based disease modifying therapy significantly lowers salivary IL-1β and TNF-α levels in rheumatoid arthritis.
Interleukin 1β; matrix metalloproteinase (MMP); tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α; salivary biomarkers; periodontal disease; rheumatoid arthritis; saliva; inflammation; biological markers
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a multisystem disease of presumed autoimmune pathogenesis for which no proven effective treatment exists. High-dose immunosuppressive therapy (HDIT) has been proposed as an investigational treatment for severe autoimmune diseases. Nineteen patients with poor-prognosis SSc underwent HDIT. The median age was 40 years (range, 23–61 years), the median modified Rodnan skin score (a measure of dermal sclerosis) was 31, and the median DLCO was 57%. Conditioning therapy involved 800 cGy total body irradiation (TBI) (± lung shielding to approximately 200 cGy), 120 mg/kg cyclophosphamide, and 90 mg/kg equine antithymocyte globulin. CD34-selected granulocyte–colony-stimulating factor–mobilized autologous blood stem cells provided hematopoietic rescue. With median follow-up at 14.7 months, the Kaplan-Meier estimated 2-year survival rate was 79%. Three patients died of treatment complications and one of disease progression. Two of the first 8 patients had fatal regimen-related pulmonary injury, a complication not found among 11 subsequent patients who received lung shielding for TBI. Overall, internal organ functions were stable to slightly worse after HDIT, and 4 patients had progressive or nonresponsive disease. As measured by modified Rodnan skin scores and modified health assessment questionnaire disability index (mHAQ-DI) scores, significant disease responses occurred in 12 of 12 patients evaluated at 1 year after HDIT. In conclusion, though important treatment-related toxicities occurred after HDIT for SSc, modifications of initial approaches appear to reduce treatment risks. Responses in skin and mHAQ-DI scores exceed those reported with other therapies, suggesting that HDIT is a promising new therapy for SSc that should be evaluated in prospective randomized studies.
Patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) complain of inadequate sleep, which could contribute to common symptoms including sleepiness, fatigue, or pain. However, measures that consistently and objectively distinguish FMS patients remain elusive.
Fifteen women with FMS and 15 age- and gender-matched controls underwent 3 nights of polysomnography; Multiple Sleep Latency Tests to assess sleepiness; testing of auditory arousal thresholds during non-REM stage 2 and stage 4 sleep; overnight assessment of urinary free-cortisol; and analysis of 24-hour heart rate variability.
On the second night of polysomnography, women with FMS in comparison to controls showed more stage shifts (p=0.04) but did not differ significantly on any other standard polysomnographic measure or on the Multiple Sleep Latency Tests. Alpha EEG power during deep non-REM sleep, alone or as a proportion of alpha power during remaining sleep stages, also failed to distinguish the groups, as did auditory arousal thresholds. Urinary free cortisol did not differ between FMS and control subjects in a consistent manner. However, decreased short-term heart rate variability and especially ratio-based HRV among FMS subjects suggested diminished parasympathetic and increased sympathetic activity, respectively. Other HRV measures suggested decreased complexity of HRV among the FMS subjects.
Standard measures of sleep, a gold-standard measure of sleepiness, quantified alpha-delta EEG power, auditory arousal thresholds, and urinary free cortisol largely failed to distinguish FMS and control subjects. However, HRV analyses showed more promise, as they suggested both increased sympathetic activity and decreased complexity of autonomic nervous system function in FMS.
fibromyalgia; sleep; electroencephalography; pain; heart rate variability; polysomnography
The small GTPase Rap1 is implicated in a variety of cellar functions. In this study, we investigated the effect of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) on Rap1 activation in rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts (RSF). Rap1 was expressed in RSF, and GTP-bound active Rap1 (GTP-Rap1) was rapidly increased by PGE2. The effect of PGE2 was mimicked by an EP2 receptor agonist, an EP4 agonist and a cAMP elevating agent forskolin with association to increase of cAMP, but not by an EP1 or an EP3 agonist. RSF expressed the downstream signaling partners of cAMP, exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (Epac1) and protein kinase A (PKA). Both 8-pCPT-2-O-Me-cAMP (an Epac-specific cAMP analog) and 6-Bnz-cAMP (a PKA-specific cAMP analog) activated Rap1 in RSF. Activation of Rap1 by PGE2 via cAMP signaling may play an important role in the articular pathology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
The objective of this study was to elicit and assess important symptom domains and the impact of fibromyalgia on patients’ quality of life and functioning from a patient’s perspective. The intention was to collect this information as part of an overall effort to overcome shortcomings of existing outcome measures in fibromyalgia.
This was a qualitative study in which six focus group sessions with 48 women diagnosed with fibromyalgia were conducted to elicit concepts and ideas to assess the impact of fibromyalgia on their lives.
The focus groups conducted with fibromyalgia patients identified symptom domains that had the greatest impact on their quality of life including pain, sleep disturbance, fatigue depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment. Fibromyalgia had a substantial negative impact on social and occupational function. Patients reported disrupted relationships with family and friends, social isolation, reduced activities of daily living and leisure activities, avoidance of physical activity, and loss of career or inability to advance in careers or education.
The findings from the focus groups revealed that fibromyalgia has a substantial negative impact on patients’ lives.
A comprehensive assessment of the multiple symptoms domains associated with fibromyalgia and the impact of fibromyalgia on multidimensional aspects of function should be a routine part of the care of fibromyalgia patients.
fibromyalgia; patient focus group; symptom domains; quality of life
Microsomal PGE synthase-1 (mPGES-1) is an inducible enzyme that acts downstream of cyclooxygenase and specifically catalyzes the conversion of PGH2 to PGE2. The present study demonstrates the effect of genetic deletion of mPGES-1 on the developing immunologic responses and its impact on the clinical model of bovine collagen-induced arthritis. mPGES-1 null and heterozygous mice exhibited decreased incidence and severity of arthritis compared with wild-type mice in a gene dose-dependent manner. Histopathological examination revealed significant reduction in lining hyperplasia and tissue destruction in mPGES-1 null mice compared with their wild-type littermates. mPGES-1 deficient mice also exhibited attenuation of mechanical nociception in a gene dose-dependent manner. In addition, mPGES-1 null and heterozygous mice showed a marked reduction of serum IgG against type II collagen (CII), including subclasses IgG1, IgG2a, IgG2b, IgG2c, and IgG3, compared with wild-type mice, which correlated with the reduction in observed inflammatory features. These results demonstrate for the first time that deficiency of mPGES-1 inhibits the development of collagen-induced arthritis, at least in part, by blocking the development of a humoral immune response against type II collagen. Pharmacologic inhibition of mPGES-1 may therefore impact both the inflammation and the autoimmunity associated with human diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Researchers studying fibromyalgia strive to identify objective, measurable biomarkers that may identify susceptible individuals, may facilitate diagnosis, or that parallel activity of the disease. Candidate objective measures range from sophisticated functional neuroimaging to office-ready measures of the pressure pain threshold. A systematic literature review was completed to assess highly investigated, objective measures used in fibromyalgia studies. To date, only experimental pain testing has been shown to coincide with improvements in clinical status in a longitudinal study. Concerted efforts to systematically evaluate additional objective measures in research trials will be vital for ongoing progress in outcome research and translation into clinical practice.
Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1) is an inducible enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of prostaglandin (PG)H2 to PGE2. Proinflammatory stimuli markedly increase levels of mPGES-1 expression both in vivo and in vitro. mPGES-1 knockout studies and animal models of inflammatory arthritis also provide a strong basis for the contribution of mPGES-1 in the increased local production of PGE2 observed in inflammatory arthritis. The focus of this article is to review some recent advances in our understanding of mechanisms specific to the regulation of inducible mPGES-1 in inflammatory arthritis.
The use of analgesic anti-inflammatory agents in patients with asthma is clinically challenging because of the prevalence (10–20%) of aspirin hypersensitivity. Aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD), or aspirin-induced asthma, is characterized by asthma and rhinitis triggered by the ingestion of aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. AERD is associated with upper and lower respiratory-tract mucosal inflammation, progressive sinusitis, nasal polyposis, and asthma regardless of whether patients avoid triggering drugs. The mechanism underlying the propensity of aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to cause this reaction is thought to involve inhibition of the synthesis of protective prostaglandins (PGs), resulting in an increase in the synthesis of cysteinyl leukotrienes by eosinophils and mast cells. Clinical data suggest that protective PGs are derived from cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 because studies have now confirmed that drugs specifically inhibiting COX-2 are not cross-reactive with aspirin in patients with AERD.
aspirin; asthma; cyclooxygenase inhibitors; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
We are developing retroviral-mediated gene transfer to human fibroblast-like synovial cells (FLS) as one approach to characterizing genetic pathways involved in synoviocyte pathophysiology. Prior work has suggested that FLS are relatively refractory to infection by Moloney murine leukemia virus based vectors. To determine if viral titer influenced the transduction efficiency of FLS, we optimized a rapid, efficient, and inexpensive centrifugation method to concentrate recombinant retroviral supernatant. The technique was evaluated by measurement of the expression of a viral enhanced green fluorescent protein transgene in transduced cells, and by analysis of viral RNA in retroviral supernatant. Concentration (100-fold) was achieved by centrifugation of viral supernatant for four hours, with 100% recovery of viral particles. The transduction of FLS increased from approximately 15% with unconcentrated supernatant, to nearly 50% using concentrated supernatant. This protocol will be useful for investigators with applications that require efficient, stable, high level transgene expression in primary FLS.
enhanced green fluorescent protein; fibroblast-like synovial cell; gene therapy; retrovirus; titer
To describe the prevalence and clinical correlates of endoscopic gastric antral vascular ectasia (GAVE; “watermelon stomach”) in early diffuse systemic sclerosis (SSc).
Subjects with early, diffuse SSc and evidence of specific internal organ involvement were considered for the Scleroderma: Cyclophosphamide Or Transplant (SCOT) trial. In the screening procedures, all patients underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Patients were then categorized into those with or without endoscopic evidence of GAVE. Demographic data, clinical disease characteristics, and autoantibody data were compared using Pearson chi-square or Student t tests.
Twenty-three of 103 (22.3%) individuals were found to have GAVE on endoscopy. Although not statistically significant, anti-topoisomerase I (anti-Scl70) was detected less frequently among those with GAVE (18.8% vs 44.7%; p = 0.071). Similarly, anti-RNP antibodies (anti-U1 RNP) showed a trend to a negative association with GAVE (0 vs 18.4%; p = 0.066). There was no association between anti-RNA polymerase III and GAVE. Patients with GAVE had significantly more erythema or vascular ectasias in other parts of the stomach (26.1% vs 5.0%; p = 0.003).
Endoscopic GAVE was present on screening in almost one-fourth of these highly selected patients with early and severe diffuse SSc. While anti-Scl70 and anti-U1 RNP trended toward a negative association with GAVE, there was no correlation between anti-RNA Pol III and GAVE. Patients with GAVE had a higher frequency of other gastric vascular ectasias outside the antrum, suggesting that GAVE may represent part of the spectrum of the vasculopathy in SSc.
GASTRIC ANTRAL VASCULAR ECTASIA; GAVE; SYSTEMIC SCLEROSIS VASCULOPATHY; ENDOSCOPY
Microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase-1 (mPGES-1) is an inducible enzyme that acts downstream of cyclooxygenase (COX) to specifically catalyze the conversion of prostaglandin (PG) H2 to PGE2. mPGES-1 plays a key role in inflammation, pain and arthritis; however, the role of mPGES-1 in fibrogenesis is largely unknown. Herein, we examine the role of mPGES-1 in a mouse model of skin scleroderma using mice deficient in mPGES-1.
Wild type (WT) and mPGES-1 null mice were subjected to the bleomycin model of cutaneous skin scleroderma. mPGES-1 expressions in scleroderma fibroblasts and in fibroblasts derived from bleomycin-exposed mice were assessed by Western blot analysis. Degree of fibrosis, dermal thickness, inflammation, collagen content and the number of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA)-positive cells were determined by histological analyses. The quantity of the collagen-specific amino acid hydroxyproline was also measured.
Compared to normal skin fibroblasts, mPGES-1 protein expression was elevated in systemic sclerosis (SSc) fibroblasts and in bleomycin-exposed mice. Compared to WT mice, mPGES-1-null mice were resistant to bleomycin-induced inflammation, cutaneous thickening, collagen production and myofibroblast formation.
mPGES-1 expression is required for bleomycin-induced skin fibrogenesis. Inhibition of mPGES-1 may be a viable method to alleviate the development of cutaneous sclerosis and is a potential therapeutic target to control the onset of fibrogenesis.