D-penicillamine treatment of progressive systemic sclerosis (scleroderma): a comparison of clinical and in vitro effects

J Rheumatol. 1983 Apr;10(2):316-8.


Punch biopsies of skin were obtained from the forearms of 3 patients with progressive systemic sclerosis with diffuse scleroderma before and after treatment for 1 year or more with D-penicillamine. While on therapy, each patient studied had demonstrated a marked reduction in skin thickening. Collagenase-sensitive protein and glycosaminoglycan accumulation were measured in fibroblast cultures derived from these biopsies. No differences were observed pre- and post-treatment. We conclude that although D-penicillamine may exert its effect in vivo on connective tissue synthesis, maturation and/or turnover, fibroblasts remaining in the thinned dermis retain their potential for increased synthesis of connective tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Glycosaminoglycans / metabolism
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Middle Aged
  • Penicillamine / therapeutic use*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / drug therapy*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / metabolism
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / pathology


  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Penicillamine