Background: The small GTPase Rho family and its effectors, Rho-kinases (ROCK) play essential
roles in the actin cytoskeleton organization and coordinate a broad range of cellular functions, such as inflammatory
responses, cell contractility, migration, adhesion, proliferation, and apoptosis.
Methods: The goal of this work is to review existing literature about systemic sclerosis and Behçet’s disease in
relation to ROCK.
Results: There are some evidence that ROCK expression is elevated in patients with systemic sclerosis and Behçet’s
disease. Rho/ROCK gene polymorphisms have been shown to be associated with these disorders. Endothelial
function is also impaired in these autoimmune diseases. Rho/Rho-kinase pathway might have a crucial role in
endothelial, vascular, and fibrotic pathologies.
Conclusion: Dysregulation in the Rho/ROCK pathway may represent a common pathogenic mechanism in multiple
autoimmune disorders. Current evidence indicate that Rho/ROCK genes might be risk factors, and can contribute
to susceptibility and development of systemic sclerosis and Behçet’s disease. These studies may also provide
important insights into the future development or use of potential novel therapeutic approaches, such as
selective Rho-kinase inhibitors, for the treatment of patients with systemic sclerosis and Behçet’s disease.