Leukoregulin (LR), a T-cell-derived growth factor, modulates fibroblast functions in vitro [Mauviel, Rédini, Hartmann, Loyau & Pujol (1991) J. Cell Biol. 113, 1455-1462]. In the present study, incubation of human dermal fibroblasts with LR (0.1-2 units/ml) resulted in decreases in the mRNA steady-state levels for alpha 1(I), alpha 2(I) and alpha 1(III), but not alpha 2(V), collagen genes. LR also down-regulated alpha 2(I) collagen promoter activity in transient cell transfections of control cells as well as those incubated with transforming growth factor-beta, a potent up-regulator of collagen type I gene expression. Thus LR is a strong inhibitor of type I collagen gene expression, acting at the level of transcription.

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