From mouse to man…
Systemic sclerosis (SSc), also known as scleroderma, is a chronic connective tissue condition that is characterised by painful hardening and thickening of the skin, but can also effect a number of internal organs with devastating consequences. Overactivity of the immune system is thought to underly the damage inflicted in those suffering from SSc.
Our group is currently using mouse models of systemic sclerosis (SSc) to investigate the role of inflammatory mediators in disease pathogenesis. These genetic makers are elevated in human scleroderma patients which points toward their importance in the excessive recruitment of inflammatory cells to the skin and unwanted sites of the body. In our group, a small molecule inhibitor of a particular immune-cell binding interaction has been recently shown to prevent disease progression in a mouse model of SSc.