Early Disease Processes in Systemic Sclerosis: Biomarker discovery and treatment implications

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    Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a complex disease involving various factors like immune system dysfunction and tissue scarring in the skin and vital organs. It's difficult to predict and treat because it varies greatly among patients. This study focused on understanding how the disease starts and progresses, especially its impact on the lungs. Monocytes and macrophages, types of immune cells, play a key role in both the early and late stages of SSc by triggering inflammation and scarring. The study suggested potential treatments targeting these cells. Another focus was on Raynaud's phenomenon, an early sign of SSc, which may trigger the disease through oxidative stress. We found a protein called HMGB1 which may be involved in early pathogenesis, opening up new treatment possibilities. Serious complications involving the lungs like pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and interstitial lung disease (ILD) can be fatal. The study identified biomarkers, like CXCL10, which could help predict lung issues early. Additionally, we discovered genes associated with the progression of lung fibrosis, suggesting new ways to intervene. Overall, the study suggests targeting inflammation early on could be more effective in managing SSc and its lung complications. However, challenges remain in diagnosing and treating the disease promptly.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Mulder, Udo, Supervisor
    • van Goor, Harry, Supervisor
    • Westra, Hannie, Co-supervisor
    Award date10-Jun-2024
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Publication statusPublished - 2024


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