Cytokine and chemokine levels in systemic sclerosis: Relationship with cutaneous and internal organ involvement

Enrico Scala, S. Pallotta, A. Frezzolini, D. Abeni, C. Barbieri, F. Sampogna, O. De Pità, P. Puddu, R. Paganelli, G. Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a connective tissue disorder characterized by excessive collagen deposition in the skin and internal organs. Several cytokines and chemokines have been implicated in the induction of fibrosis, but a definitive relationship between specific cytokines and organ involvement has not been established yet. Serum samples, PBMC and T cell lines (TCL) obtained from 54 patients affected by SSc and 20 healthy donors (HD) were examined by ELISA for Interferon-γ (IFN-7), interleukin (IL)-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-18, Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, Tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, sCD30, Macrophage derived chemokine (MDC), Monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, Macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1α and Regulated on activation normal T-cell expressed and secreted (RANTES). In all the SSc serum samples, we found significantly increased levels of IL6, TNFα and MCP-1 but reduced amounts of γ-IFN and MDC. IL6, IL10, IL18, MIP-1α and TNFα measured in supernatants from PHA-stimulated PBMC and IL6, MCP-1 and RANTES in supernatants from stimulated TCL were also increased in patients. MDC was decreased in all the biological SSc sources studied. TGF-β1, IL10, and sCD30 were produced at a significantly lower level by SSc TCL. Serum IL6 and sCD30 levels were significantly increased in dc-SSc patients compared to lc-SSc as were levels of MCP-1 produced by PBMC and IL10 from TCL. We observed a strict relationship between pulmonary fibrosis and IL10, MCP-1 (both from TCL) and serum IL6. Kidney involvement was related to serum MCP-1 levels and IL18 production from PBMC. Oesophageal involvement correlated with MDC production from PBMC and IL10 synthesis by TCL. We showed that IL-6, IL-10, MDC and MCP-1 are variably associated with internal organ involvement and allow the discrimination between limited and diffuse forms of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-546
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004


  • IL-10
  • IL-6
  • MCP-1
  • MDC
  • Systemic sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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