A role for CD4+ T cells in the pathogenesis of skin fibrosis in tight skin mice Journal Articles uri icon

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  • AbstractThe tight skin (Tsk/+) mouse represents a murine model of heritable fibrosis with some similarities to the skin fibrosis seen in human scleroderma. Tsk/+ animals display alterations in connective tissue in some internal organs. Skin fibrosis can be adoptively transferred to normal recipients with Tsk/+ bone marrow or spleen cells and older Tsk/+ animals develop autoantibodies against topoisomerase suggesting that some of the pathogenesis in the Tsk/+ mouse may be mediated by autoimmunity. To determine the role of T cell subsets in the pathogenesis of fibrotic disease, Tsk/+ mice were bred with CD4‐ and CD8‐deficient (CD4−/− and CD8−/−) mice. Tsk/+ CD4−/− mice showed a marked reduction in skin fibrosis as well as decreased cellularity and only mild collagen disorganization as compared to Tsk/+ CD4+ CD8+ control mice yet did not differ from Tsk controls in the level of serum anti‐topoisomerase activity. In contrast, Tsk/+ CD8−/− mice exhibited the same histology in the skin as Tsk/+ controls yet had significantly reduced levels of serum anti‐topoisomerase activity. Lung pathology, i.e. emphysema, was unaffected by both the CD4 or CD8 mutations. These data show that only some of the pathological effects of the Tsk mutation are T cell dependent and that different T cell subsets affect different parameters in this multi‐organ model of fibrotic disease.


  • Wallace, Valerie A
  • Kondo, Seiji
  • Kono, Takeshi
  • Xing, Zhou
  • Timms, Emma
  • Furlonger, Caren
  • Keystone, Edward
  • Gauldie, Jack
  • Sauder, Daniel N
  • Mak, Tak W
  • Paige, Christopher J

publication date

  • June 1994