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Abstract

Objective. To assess the predictive value of early endothelial E-selectin and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) expression, as well as mast cell infiltration, in the subsequent progression to systemic sclerosis (SSc) in patients with Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) and abnormal nailfold capillaroscopic findings.

Methods. Clinical criteria were evaluated, and immunostaining was performed on lip biopsy samples from 22 patients with RP and abnormal capillaroscopic results. None of these patients initially fulfilled the American College of Rheumatology criteria for SSc.

Results. E-selectin, TNFα, and mast cell infiltration were found in 9, 10, and 8 of 11 patients, respectively, whose disease progressed to SSc, and in 0, 2, and 1 of 11 patients, respectively, whose disease did not progress to SSc (P < 0.001, P < 0.01, and P < 0.01, respectively).

Conclusion. E-selectin, TNFα, and mast cell infiltration are detectable in the very early stages of SSc, prior to the onset of skin changes.