Diseases Home > Scleroderma Causes

Common scleroderma causes may include abnormal immune or inflammatory activity, genetics, environmental factors, or hormones. As a result, the immune system stimulates cells called fibroblasts to produce too much collagen. This collagen then forms scar tissue around the cells of the skin and internal organs. Although these scleroderma causes have yet to be definitively proven, scientists do know that the condition is not transmittable or inherited.

Scleroderma Causes: An Overview

Although scientists do not know the exact cause of scleroderma, they are certain that people cannot catch it from or transmit it to others. Studies also show that scleroderma is not inherited.
Scientists suspect that scleroderma is the result of several factors, which may include:
  • Abnormal immune or inflammatory activity
  • Genetics
  • Environment
  • Hormones.

Scleroderma Causes: Abnormal Immune or Inflammatory Activity

Like many other rheumatic disorders, scleroderma is believed to be an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is a disease that occurs when the immune system, for unknown reasons, turns against one's own body.
In scleroderma, the immune system is thought to stimulate cells called fibroblasts to produce too much collagen. In turn, this collagen forms thick, connective tissue that builds up around the cells of the skin and internal organs. In milder forms of scleroderma, the symptoms of this buildup are limited to the skin and blood vessels. In more serious forms, these symptoms can interfere with normal functioning of skin, blood vessels, joints, and internal organs.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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