Induction of immune tolerance to human type I collagen in patients with systemic sclerosis by oral administration of bovine type I collagen

Kevin M. McKown, Laura D. Carbone, Juan Bustillo, Jerome M. Seyer, Andrew H. Kang, Arnold E. Postlethwaite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Objective. To determine whether oral tolerance to type I collagen (CI) could be induced in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc). Methods. Twenty adult patients with limited or diffuse SSc were enrolled in a study to receive 0.1 mg of solubilized native bovine CI daily for 1 month, followed by 0.5 mg daily for 11 months. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were obtained from the patients and cultured with human α1(I) and α2(I) chains, before and after CI treatment. Culture supernatants were analyzed for levels of interferon-γ (IFNγ) and interleukin-10 (IL-10). Sera obtained before and after treatment were analyzed for levels of soluble IL-2 receptor (sIL-2R). Although this study was not intended to assess the clinical efficacy of oral CI administration in SSc, selected measures of disease severity and organ involvement were evaluated. Results. Oral administration of CI to SSc patients induced significant reductions in levels of IFNγ and IL-10 in α1(I)- and α2(I)-stimulated PBMC culture supernatants, indicating that T cell immunity to CI was decreased by this treatment. Serum levels of sIL-2R also decreased significantly after oral CI treatment, suggesting a reduction in T cell activation. Significant improvements occurred in the modified Rodnan skin thickness score and the modified Health Assessment Questionnaire after 12 months of oral CI in this open trial. The lung carbon monoxide diffusing capacity improved statistically and showed a trend toward clinically significant improvement. Conclusion. Oral administration of bovine CI to patients with diffuse or limited SSc induces a reduction in T cell reactivity to human CI, appears to be well tolerated, and does not worsen the disease. Further evaluation of oral tolerance to CI in patients with SSc is justified to determine whether it has therapeutic efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1054-1061
Number of pages8
JournalArthritis and Rheumatism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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