Purpose of review: The aim of this article is to review studies which support the hypothesis that allograft inflammatory factor-1, a protein initially identified in chronically rejected cardiac allografts, may be involved in the pathogenesis of the progressive fibroproliferative vasculopathy which is a hallmark of systemic sclerosis.
Recent findings: Recent findings demonstrated elevated allograft inflammatory factor-1 expression both in systemic sclerosis affected tissues and peripheral blood mononuclear cells. A detailed immunohistopathologic study examined the tissue and cellular localization of the protein in affected systemic sclerosis tissues and demonstrated its expression in the endothelium of dermal and pulmonary vessels, in the pulmonary parenchyma, and in relevant inflammatory cells including T cells and macrophages. Furthermore, functional studies showed specific allograft inflammatory factor-1 isoform expression stimulation by transforming growth factor-β.
Summary: This review summarizes recent findings suggesting that allograft inflammatory factor-1 may play an important role in systemic sclerosis vasculopathy and provides supporting evidence to consider the molecule as a novel therapeutic target.