Scleroderma (systemic sclerosis) is a chronic autoimmune disease, characterized by dysregulation of immune cells in the blood and subsequent fibrosis and vascular dysfunction, associated with significant mortality and morbidity, disproportionately affecting women and African Americans, and without satisfactory treatments. Monocytes, a type of blood immune cells, are critically involved, but the mechanisms responsible for their deregulation in scleroderma remain largely unknown. The goal of this project is to understand how the regulation of monocytes differs between scleroderma and healthy individuals. Volunteers will be asked to provide a blood sample, for which modest compensation will be provided. This is not a drug study.
Often considered as related diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and systemic sclerosis (SSc) are severe autoimmune disorders characterized, among other, by dysregulation of immune cells in the blood. The roles of different immune cells in SLE and SSc remain unclear. It is of increasing importance to characterize specific immune cells and define their impact on autoimmune disease, which may lead to new therapies. The goal of this study is to identify blood immune cells associated with SLE and SSc.