Fibrosis is characterized by an excessive accumulation of collagen which contains increased levels of pyridinoline cross-links. The occurrence of pyridinolines in the matrix is an important criterion in assessing the irreversibility of fibrosis, which suggests that collagen containing pyridinoline cross-links significantly contributes to the unwanted collagen accumulation. Pyridinoline cross-links are derived from hydroxylated lysine residues located within the collagen telopeptides (hydroxyallysine pathway). Here, we have investigated whether the increase in hydroxyallysine-derived cross-links in fibrotic conditions can be ascribed to an increased expression of one of the lysyl hydroxylases (LH1, LH2 with its splice variants LH2a and LH2b, or LH3) and/or to an increased expression of lysyl oxidase (LOX). In fibroblast cultures of hypertrophic scars, keloid and palmar fascia of Dupuytren's patients, as well as in activated hepatic stellate cells, increased levels of LH2b mRNA expression were observed. Only minor amounts of LH2a were present. In addition, no consistent increase in the mRNA expression levels of LH1, LH3 and LOX could be detected, suggesting that LH2b is responsible for the overhydroxylation of the collagen telopeptides and the concomitant formation of pyridinolines as found in the collagen matrix deposited in long-term cultures by the same fibrotic cells. This is consistent with our previous observation that LH2b is a telopeptide lysyl hydroxylase. We conclude that the increased expression of LH2b, leading to the increased formation of pyridinoline cross-links, is present in a wide variety of fibrotic disorders and thus represents a general fibrotic phenomenon.