Conflict of interest None.
Serum apelin levels: clinical association with vascular involvements in patients with systemic sclerosis
Article first published online: 24 NOV 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology © 2011 European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Volume 27, Issue 1, pages 37–42, January 2013
How to Cite
Aozasa, N., Asano, Y., Akamata, K., Noda, S., Masui, Y., Yamada, D., Tamaki, Z., Tada, Y., Sugaya, M., Kadono, T. and Sato, S. (2013), Serum apelin levels: clinical association with vascular involvements in patients with systemic sclerosis. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 27: 37–42. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2011.04354.x
Funding sources This work was supported by a grant for Research on Intractable Diseases from the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare of Japan.
- Issue published online: 18 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 24 NOV 2011
- Received: 5 May 2011; Accepted: 31 October 2011
Background Apelin is a bioactive peptide exerting its pro-angiogenic and pro-fibrotic effects in a context-dependent manner through the activation of its receptor APJ, which is ubiquitously expressed on the surface of various cell types. The activation of apelin/APJ signalling appears to be involved in the pathological process of fibrotic disorders, including liver cirrhosis.
Objective As an initial step to clarify the role of apelin/APJ signalling in the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis (SSc), we investigated serum apelin levels and their clinical association in patients with SSc.
Methods Serum apelin levels were determined by a specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 56 SSc patients and 18 healthy controls.
Results Serum apelin levels were comparable among three groups, including diffuse cutaneous SSc, limited cutaneous SSc and control subjects (1.77 ± 1.48, 1.63 ± 1.51 and 1.61 ± 0.44 ng/mL, respectively). When we classified SSc patients into three groups according to disease duration, serum apelin levels were elevated in early SSc (<3 years) compared with mid-stage SSc (3–10 years) (1.74 ± 1.26 vs. 1.02 ± 0.52 ng/mL, P < 0.05). Importantly, in late stage SSc (>10 years), the prevalence of severe vascular involvements, including intractable skin ulcers, scleroderma renal crisis and pulmonary arterial hypertension, was significantly higher in patients with elevated serum apelin levels than in those without (100% vs. 20%, P < 0.05).
Conclusion Apelin may be associated with altered and activated angiogenesis prior to fibrotic responses in early SSc and with the development of proliferative vasculopathy in late stage SSc.