Prostacyclin Analogue Iloprost Influences Endothelial Cell-associated Soluble Adhesion Molecules and Growth Factors in Patients with Systemic Sclerosis: A Time Course Study of Serum Concentrations
Philipp Rehberger, Petra Beckheinrich-Mrowka, Uwe-Frithjof Haustein and Michael Sticherling
Systemic sclerosis is a connective tissue disorder with unclear aetiology and pathogenesis. However, there is evidence that microvascular changes belong to the early symptoms of the disease. These are associated with increased serum levels of markers of endothelium activation, such as adhesion molecules and growth factors. The stable prostacyclin analogue iloprost is licensed for vascular symptoms (Raynaud's phenomenon) and was recently shown to exert short-term effects on these markers. In this study, serum samples (n = 13) from patients with systemic sclerosis were examined for serum levels of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1, E-selectin, endothelin-1 and vascular endothelial growth factor over 6 months after iloprost infusions in order to detect possible long-term effects. Iloprost significantly reduced initially elevated levels of these markers, partly until the end of the observation period (E-selectin, VCAM-1, endothelin-1). These effects provide serological evidence for the benefits of iloprost infusions that are seen clinically in patients with systemic sclerosis.