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Is scleroderma an autoimmune disease?

 

The role of the immune system is to protect the body from foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. Sometimes, however, this system goes awry and the immune response, which normally targets only outside elements, turns against the body’s own cells, attacking them, resulting in the production of large quantities of autoantibodies. Some studies suggest that scleroderma is an autoimmune disease. The main evidence for this notion is the fact that SSc patients have specific autoantibodies. In the case of scleroderma, fibroblast cells (a type of cell in the body which produces collagen and is important in wound healing) are abnormally overactivated and overproduce collagen that spreads throughout the skin and various internal organs, causing inflammation, leading to tissue fibrosis (scarring).