Objective Bleomycin-induced fibrosis and the tight skin (TSK/+) mouse are well-established experimental murine models of human systemic sclerosis (SSc). Growing evidence has demonstrated the pivotal role of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) in several autoimmune inflammatory diseases, including SSc. This study was undertaken to determine the role of TLR-4 in the fibrotic processes in these murine models.
Methods We generated a murine model of bleomycin-induced SSc using TLR-4-/- mice and TLR-4-/-;TSK/+ mice. The mechanisms by which TLR-4 contributes to pathologic tissue fibrosis were investigated in these 2 models by histologic examination, hydroxyproline assay, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, real-time polymerase chain reaction, and flow cytometry.
Results Dermal and lung fibrosis was attenuated in bleomycin-treated TLR-4-/- mice compared with their wild-type counterparts. Inflammatory cell infiltration, expression of various inflammatory cytokines, and pathologic angiogenesis induced by bleomycin treatment were suppressed with TLR-4 deletion. Furthermore, the increased expression of interleukin-6 (IL-6) in fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and immune cells in response to bleomycin in vivo and to lipopolysaccharide in vitro was notably abrogated in the absence of TLR-4. Moreover, TLR-4 deletion was associated with alleviated B cell activation and skew toward a Th2/Th17 response against bleomycin treatment. Importantly, in TSK/+ mice, another SSc murine model, TLR-4 abrogation attenuated hypodermal fibrosis.
Conclusion These results indicate the pivotal contribution of TLR-4 to the pathologic tissue fibrosis of SSc murine models. Our results indicate the critical role of TLR-4 signaling in the development of tissue fibrosis, suggesting that biomolecular TLR-4 targeting might be a potential therapeutic approach to SSc.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Arthritis and Rheumatology|
|Publication status||Published - 2015 Jan 1|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy