Skip to main content
  • Meeting abstract
  • Published:

Abnormal gene expression in CD8 T cells from the lungs of scleroderma patients

Activated CD8+ T cells in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples are associated with progressive lung fibrosis in scleroderma. The hypothesis of this work is that CD8+ T cells from a subset of scleroderma patients, especially those with lung inflammation, have an abnormal pattern of gene expression that can promote fibrosis. Freshly isolated BAL CD8+ T cells from 26 individuals were tested for expression of cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, and receptor genes, using DNA microarrays. Hierarchical cluster analyses showed two groups of arrays. Group 1 included all 10 patients with lung inflammation and two patients without. Arrays from the other 7 patients without lung inflammation clustered with all 7 arrays from controls in group 2. Differences in gene expression indicated that CD8+ T cells in group 1, compared to group 2, were more likely to be activated, express type 2 cytokines, and stimulate extracellular matrix deposition, and less likely to undergo activation-induced cell death. T-cell activation was suggested by increased expression of LIGHT, neurotropin-4, CD100, CD6, integrin b1 and decreased expression of VIP R1 genes. Type 2 cytokine production was suggested by increased expression of CCR4, G-CSFR and IL-13 Ra and decreased expression of TRANCE and TNF R1 genes. Reduced expression of TNF R1, TNF R11, TRAIL R1, CD30 L and Fas genes suggested that CD8+ T cells from Group 1 were less likely to die following activation. Increased gene expression of oncostatin M, which simulates fibroblast proliferation and collagen production, integrin b6, which can activate TGF-β, FGF17, FGF4, and membrane type-1 and -2 matrix metallopro-teinases was seen. To confirm some of these results, increased IL-4 mRNA had been reported in our previous work, and increases in oncostatin M and activated TGF-β proteins in BAL fluids from patients with lung inflammation were confirmed by ELISA. These findings suggest that activated CD8+ T cells are part of a pathway that leads to lung fibrosis in scleroderma.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Luzina, I., Atamas, S., Wise, R. et al. Abnormal gene expression in CD8 T cells from the lungs of scleroderma patients. Arthritis Res Ther 4 (Suppl 1), 93 (2002).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Published:

  • DOI: