Fibrogenic cytokines in cutaneous-mucosal inflammation models

S. Moretti, P. Carli, A. Spallanzani, E. Berti, A. Cattaneo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Evidence of skin immune system activation has been found in lichen sclerosus (LS), a fibrogenic inflammatory disease exhibiting in early stages some immunohistological features resembling those described in lichen planus (LP), a non fibrogenic inflammatory disease. In vitro studies demonstrated an increased synthesis of collagen by activated fibroblasts in LS, suggesting that soluble mediators namely, cytokines, released by infiltrating cells play a role in modulating connective tissue synthesis. Our aim was to evaluate the expression of fibrogenic cytokines in LS infiltrate, compared with LP infiltrate. Eight cases of vulvar LS (3 early stages, and 5 well developed/old stages), and 4 vulvar LP were studied. Monoclonal antibodies directed against IL4, TGF and IL6 - the main fibrogenic cytokines, and against IFNγ which inhibits collagen synthesis, were used according to an amplified immunohistochemical technique (APAAP). IL4 was found to be more expressed in the infiltrate of LS, mainly in early lesions than in the infiltrate of LP. On the contrary, IFNγ was strongly less expressed in LS (less than 10% + infiltrating cells) than in LP (more than 60% + infiltrating cells). Expression of TGFβ, recognized as a mediator of fibrosis in scleroderma, was similar in both LS and LS. Comparable results were obtained for IL6. We demonstrated an immunohistochemical higher expression of fibrogenic cytokines, namely, IL4, in vulvar LS, and an immunohistochemical higher expression of IFN in vulvar LP. It is conceivable that dermal infiltrating cells actively take part, via cytokine production, in the pathogenesis of fibrosis in LS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-90
Number of pages2
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • cytokines
  • inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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