Scleroderma is a group of skin-fibrosing diseases for which there are no effective treatments. A feature of the skin fibrosis typical of scleroderma is atrophy of the dermal white adipose tissue (DWAT). Adipose tissue contains adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (ADSCs) that have regenerative and reparative functions; however, whether DWAT atrophy in fibrosis is accompanied by ADSC loss is poorly understood, as are the mechanisms that might maintain ADSC survival in fibrotic skin. Here, we have shown that DWAT ADSC numbers were reduced, likely because of cell death, in 2 murine models of scleroderma skin fibrosis. The remaining ADSCs showed a partial dependence on dendritic cells (DCs) for survival. Lymphotoxin β (LTβ) expression in DCs maintained ADSC survival in fibrotic skin by activating an LTβ receptor/β1 integrin (LTβR/β1 integrin) pathway on ADSCs. Stimulation of LTβR augmented the engraftment of therapeutically injected ADSCs, which was associated with reductions in skin fibrosis and improved skin function. These findings provide insight into the effects of skin fibrosis on DWAT ADSCs, identify a DC-ADSC survival axis in fibrotic skin, and suggest an approach for improving mesenchymal stromal cell therapy in scleroderma and other diseases.
Jennifer J. Chia, Tong Zhu, Susan Chyou, Dragos C. Dasoveanu, Camila Carballo, Sha Tian, Cynthia M. Magro, Scott Rodeo, Robert F. Spiera, Nancy H. Ruddle, Timothy E. McGraw, Jeffrey L. Browning, Robert Lafyatis, Jessica K. Gordon, Theresa T. Lu
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.