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BACKGROUND: Endothelial damage and activation may play central roles in the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis (SSc) and are reflected by microparticles (MPs) and soluble selectins. The objective of this study was to determine if these potential biomarkers are associated with specific organ involvements or cutaneous subgroups of SSc patients. METHOD: MPs in platelet-poor plasma from 121 patients with SSc, 79 and 42 with limited and diffuse cutaneous disease, respectively, were characterized by flow cytometry for their capacity to bind annexin V in combination with surface markers of either platelets (PMPs), leukocytes (LMPs) or endothelial cells (EMPs). Soluble E- and P-selectin levels were determined in plasma. By correlation analyses, this was held against involvement of skin, lung function, lung fibrosis, pulmonary artery hypertension, and serology. RESULTS: None of the markers were associated with cutaneous subgroups of SSc. Concentrations of annexin V non-binding EMPs and annexin V non-binding LMPs were negatively correlated to pulmonary diffusing capacity (DLCO) (r = -0.28; p = 0.003; r = -0.26; p = 0.005) and forced vital capacity (FVC) (r = -0.24; p = 0.009; r = -0.29; p = 0.002), driven by patients with limited and diffuse cutaneous disease, respectively. Soluble E-selectin levels correlated negatively to DL(CO) (r = -0.21, p = 0.03) and FVC (r = -0.25; p = 0.007); and soluble P-selectin correlated negatively to DL(CO) (r = -0.23, p = 0.01). CONCLUSION: Negative correlations between annexin V non-binding EMP and LMP concentrations with lung function parameters (DL(CO) and FVC) differed between limited and diffuse cutaneous subsets of SSc, indicative of various pathogeneses of lung involvement in SSc, possibly with a differential role of MPs.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Musculoskelet Disord

Publication Date





Adult, Aged, Biomarkers, Cell-Derived Microparticles, Cross-Sectional Studies, E-Selectin, Female, Humans, Lung, Male, Middle Aged, P-Selectin, Scleroderma, Systemic, Skin, Young Adult