Scleroderma is a generalized or localized disorder which leads to fibrosis of the affected organs. TGF-beta has been implicated as a causal agent in its pathogenesis. In mammals, TGF-beta comprises a family of three members, beta 1, beta 2 and beta 3. Since cutaneous wound healing is thought to result either in formation of a scar or in scar-free tissue regeneration, depending on the relative amounts of the beta 3 isoform, the expression of all three isoforms was studied in skin biopsies of patients with either localized or systemic scleroderma. mRNA for all three isoforms was detected in inflammatory skin areas of both disease forms, but never in sclerotic or healthy skin. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed expression of beta1 and beta 2 proteins in inflammatory skin of patients, whereas beta 3 protein appeared to be present in the subepidermal area and also found throughout the dermis of patients and healthy dermis as well.