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Pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis in systemic sclerosis: lessons from interstitial lung disease

Posted Nov 17 2010 7:16am
Interstitial lung disease is a frequent complication of systemic sclerosis and currently is the leading cause of death. Our ability to predict which individuals are at greatest risk of developing clinically significant, progressive interstitial lung disease remains inadequate.

Identification of circulating autoantibodies and other biomarkers, as well as genetic polymorphisms and aberrant gene expression, all hold promise as diagnostic and prognostic tools, as well as therapeutic targets. Many practice patterns for the diagnosis and monitoring of connective tissue disease-associated interstitial lung disease are based upon published experience with idiopathic interstitial lung diseases.

Although there are likely commonalities in the pathophysiologic mechanisms and clinical progression among all fibrosing lung diseases, a better understanding of features unique to systemic sclerosis-associated interstitial lung disease is essential to the development of more effective monitoring and treatment strategies.

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