Fli1 deficiency induces endothelial adipsin expression, contributing to the onset of pulmonary arterial hypertension in systemic sclerosis

Takuya Miyagawa, Takashi Taniguchi, Ryosuke Saigusa, Maiko Fukayama, Takehiro Takahashi, Takashi Yamashita, Megumi Hirabayashi, Shunsuke Miura, Kouki Nakamura, Ayumi Yoshizaki, Shinichi Sato, Yoshihide Asano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Adipsin, or complement factor D, is a serine proteinase catalysing complement factor C3 breakdown, leading to the production of opsonin (C3b), membrane attack complex (C5b-C9) and anaphylatoxins (C3a and C5a). Since adipsin is potentially associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension in SSc, we investigated adipsin expression in dermal small vessels of SSc-involved skin, the mechanism regulating adipsin expression in endothelial cells, and the correlation of serum adipsin levels with SSc clinical symptoms. Methods: Adipsin expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry with skin sections of SSc and healthy subjects. mRNA levels of target genes and transcription factor binding to the ADIPSIN promoter were evaluated by quantitative reverse transcription PCR and chromatin immunoprecipitation, respectively. Serum adipsin levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: Adipsin expression was remarkably increased in dermal small vessels of SSc-involved skin as compared with those of healthy control skin. Consistent with the notion that Fli1 deficiency induces SSc-like phenotypes in various types of cells, FLI1 siRNA enhanced adipsin expression at protein and mRNA levels and Fli1 bound to the ADIPSIN promoter in human dermal microvascular endothelial cells. Serum adipsin levels were significantly lower in diffuse cutaneous SSc patients than in limited cutaneous SSc patients and healthy controls, and were associated positively with elevated right ventricular systolic pressure and inversely with interstitial lung disease by multivariate regression analysis. Conclusion: Adipsin is up-regulated at least partially by Fli1 deficiency in endothelial cells, potentially contributing to the development of pulmonary vascular involvement in SSc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2005-2015
Number of pages11
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug 1


  • Fli1
  • adipsin
  • endothelial cells
  • pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • systemic sclerosis


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