The most severe clinical and pathologic manifestations of systemic sclerosis (SSc) are the result of a fibrotic process characterized by the excessive and often progressive deposition of collagen and other connective tissue macromolecules in skin and numerous internal organs. The mechanisms involved in the initiation and progression of the remarkable fibrotic process in SSc remain largely unknown. Extensive recent studies have indicated that a variety of polypeptide growth factors play a crucial role in this process. The most commonly implicated growth factors include transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), platelet derived growth factor (PDGF), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Here, the experimental evidence supporting the participation of various growth factors in the pathogenesis of the fibrotic process in SSc and the molecular mechanisms involved will be reviewed.
Jimenez, Sergio A.; Castro, Susan V.; and Piera-Velazquez, Sonsoles, "Role of growth factors in the pathogenesis of tissue fibrosis in systemic sclerosis." (2010). Department of Medicine Faculty Papers. Paper 201.