Published in

Experimental & Molecular Medicine, 2022

DOI: 10.1038/s12276-022-00860-7

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Establishment of a humanized animal model of systemic sclerosis in which T helper-17 cells from patients with systemic sclerosis infiltrate and cause fibrosis in the lungs and skin

This paper was not found in any repository; the policy of its publisher is unknown or unclear.
This paper was not found in any repository; the policy of its publisher is unknown or unclear.

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Abstract

AbstractSystemic sclerosis (SSc) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation, microangiopathy, and progressive fibrosis in the skin and internal organs. To evaluate the pathophysiologic mechanisms and efficacies of potential therapeutics for SSc, a preclinical model recapitulating the disease phenotypes is needed. Here, we introduce a novel animal model for SSc using immunodeficient mice injected with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from SSc patients. Human PBMCs acquired from SSc patients and healthy controls were transferred into NOD.Cg-PrkdcscidIl2rgtm1Wjl (NSG) mice with concurrent bleomycin injection. Blood, skin, and lung tissues were acquired and analyzed after PBMC engraftment. In addition, we investigated whether the humanized murine model could be used to assess the efficacy of potential therapeutics for SSc. Human PBMCs from SSc patients and healthy controls were engrafted into the blood, skin, and lung tissues of NSG mice. Histological analysis of affected tissues from mice treated with SSc PBMCs (SSc hu-mice) demonstrated substantial inflammation, fibrosis and vasculopathy with human immune cell infiltration and increased expression of IL-17, TGF-β, CCL2, CCL3, and CXCL9. The proportions of circulating and tissue-infiltrating T helper 17 (Th17) cells were elevated in SSc hu-mice. These cells showed increased expression of CXCR3 and phosphorylated STAT3. SSc hu-mice treated with rebamipide and other potential Th17-cell-modulating drugs presented significantly reduced tissue fibrosis. Mice injected with patient-derived PBMCs show promise as an animal model of SSc.