Systemic Sclerosis is a multysistem disorder of connective tissue characterized by an autoimmune background and fibrosis of the skin and internal organs following endothelial cell damage. The etiopathogenesis is complex and still poorly understood; however the results of the most recent research have provided significant advances in understanding of the events that lead to the onset and/or progression of the disease. Interactions among endothelial cells, lymphoid cells and fibroblast are likely to be central to the pathogenesis of the disease. Increasing evidence suggests that environmental factors, such as infectious agents, may trigger the onset of the disease in genetically susceptible individuals. In this chapter we briefly describe some aspects of SSc pathogenesis and concentrate on the endothelial cell damage following human cytomegalovirus infection.
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