Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a severe autoimmune disease likely triggered by genetic and environmental factors, including viral infections. Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and human herpesvirus 6A species (HHV-6A) have been associated with SSc, based on in vivo and in vitro evidence, but the data are still inconclusive. Furthermore, despite both viruses being highly prevalent in humans and able to exacerbate each other's effects, no data are available on their joint effects. Hence, we aimed to study their simultaneous impact on the expression of cell factors correlated with fibrosis and apoptosis in in vitro coinfected fibroblasts, representing the main target cell type in SSc. The results, obtained by a microarray detecting 84 fibrosis/apoptosis-associated factors, indicated that coinfected cells underwent higher and more sustained expression of fibrosis-associated parameters compared with single-infected cells. Thus, the data, for the first time, suggest that HCMV and HHV-6A may cooperate in inducing alterations potentially leading to cell fibrosis, thus further supporting their joint role in SSc. However, further work is required to definitively answer whether beta-herpesviruses are causally linked to the disease and to enable the possible use of targeted antiviral treatments to improve clinical outcomes.

Human Cytomegalovirus and Human Herpesvirus 6 Coinfection of Dermal Fibroblasts Enhances the Pro-Inflammatory Pathway Predisposing to Fibrosis: The Possible Impact on Systemic Sclerosis

Soffritti, Irene
Co-primo
;
D'Accolti, Maria
Co-primo
;
Bini, Francesca
Investigation
;
Mazziga, Eleonora
Investigation
;
Caselli, Elisabetta
Ultimo
Conceptualization
2022

Abstract

Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a severe autoimmune disease likely triggered by genetic and environmental factors, including viral infections. Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and human herpesvirus 6A species (HHV-6A) have been associated with SSc, based on in vivo and in vitro evidence, but the data are still inconclusive. Furthermore, despite both viruses being highly prevalent in humans and able to exacerbate each other's effects, no data are available on their joint effects. Hence, we aimed to study their simultaneous impact on the expression of cell factors correlated with fibrosis and apoptosis in in vitro coinfected fibroblasts, representing the main target cell type in SSc. The results, obtained by a microarray detecting 84 fibrosis/apoptosis-associated factors, indicated that coinfected cells underwent higher and more sustained expression of fibrosis-associated parameters compared with single-infected cells. Thus, the data, for the first time, suggest that HCMV and HHV-6A may cooperate in inducing alterations potentially leading to cell fibrosis, thus further supporting their joint role in SSc. However, further work is required to definitively answer whether beta-herpesviruses are causally linked to the disease and to enable the possible use of targeted antiviral treatments to improve clinical outcomes.
2022
Soffritti, Irene; D'Accolti, Maria; Maccari, Clara; Bini, Francesca; Mazziga, Eleonora; de Conto, Flora; Calderaro, Adriana; Arcangeletti, Maria-Cristina; Caselli, Elisabetta
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2497744
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