eISSN: 1644-4124
ISSN: 1426-3912
Central European Journal of Immunology
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vol. 40

Review paper
The role of dendritic cells and regulatory T cells in the pathogenesis of morphea

Agnieszka Osmola-Mańkowska
Ewa Teresiak-Mikołajczak
Aleksandra Dańczak-Pazdrowska
Michał Kowalczyk
Ryszard Żaba
Zygmunt Adamski

(Centr Eur J Immunol 2015; 40 (1): 103-108)
Online publish date: 2015/04/22
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Morphea is one of diseases characterised by fibrosis of the skin and subcutaneous tissue. It is a chronic disease that does not shorten the life of the patient, yet significantly affects its quality. The group of factors responsible for its pathogenesis is thought to include disturbed functioning of endothelial cells as well as immune disturbances leading to chronic inflammatory conditions, accompanied by increased production of collagen and of other extracellular matrix components.

Dendritic cells (DC) are a type of professional antigen-presenting cells and can be found in almost all body tissues. Individual investigations have demonstrated high numbers of plasmacytoid DC (pDC) in morphoeic skin lesions, within deeper dermal layers, around blood vessels, and around collagen fibres in subcutaneous tissue. It appears that DC has a more pronounced role in the development of inflammation and T cell activation in morphea, as compared to systemic sclerosis (SSc).

Regulatory T (Treg) cells represent a subpopulation of T cells with immunosuppressive properties. Recent studies have drawn attention to the important role played by Treg in the process of autoimmunisation. Just a few studies have demonstrated a decrease in the number and activity of Treg in patients with SSc, and only such studies involve morphea.

This article reviews recent studies on the role of DC and regulatory T cells in the pathogenesis of morphea. Moreover, mechanisms of phototherapy and potential therapeutic targets in the treatment of morphea are discussed in this context.


scleroderma, phototherapy, mDC, pDC, morphea

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