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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-57549

Palumbo, K; Zerr, P; Tomcik, M; Vollath, S; Dees, C; Akhmetshina, A; Avouac, J; Yaniv, M; Distler, O; Schett, G; Distler, J H W (2011). The transcription factor JunD mediates transforming growth factor {beta}-induced fibroblast activation and fibrosis in systemic sclerosis. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 70(7):1320-1326.

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Transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) has been identified as a key player in fibrotic diseases. However, the molecular mechanisms by which TGFβ activates fibroblasts are incompletely understood. Here, the role of JunD, a member of the activator protein 1 (AP-1) family of transcription factors, as a downstream mediator of TGFβ signalling in systemic sclerosis (SSc), was investigated.

The expression of JunD was analysed by real-time PCR, immunofluorescence, western blotting and immunohistochemistry. The canonical Smad pathway was specifically targeted by small interfering (si)RNA. The expression of extracellular matrix proteins in JunD deficient (JunD(-/-)) fibroblasts was analysed by real-time PCR and hydroxyproline assays. The mouse model of bleomycin-induced dermal fibrosis was used to assess the role of JunD in experimental fibrosis.

JunD was overexpressed in SSc skin and in cultured fibroblasts in a TGFβ dependent manner. The expression of JunD colocalised with pSmad 3 in fibrotic skin and silencing of Smad 3 or Smad 4 by siRNA prevented the induction of JunD by TGFβ. JunD(-/-) fibroblasts were less responsive to TGFβ and released less collagen upon stimulation with TGFβ. Moreover, JunD(-/-) mice were protected from bleomycin-induced fibrosis with reduced dermal thickening, decreased myofibroblast counts and lower collagen content of lesional skin.

These data demonstrate that JunD is overexpressed in SSc and that JunD is a mediator of the profibrotic effects of TGFβ. Considering that inhibitors of AP-1 signalling have recently been developed and are available for clinical trials in SSc, these findings may have translational implications.


35 citations in Web of Science®
38 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Rheumatology Clinic and Institute of Physical Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Deposited On:29 Jan 2012 11:15
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:31
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
Publisher DOI:10.1136/ard.2010.148296
PubMed ID:21515915

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