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Logo of annrheumdAnnals of the Rheumatic DiseasesVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
Ann Rheum Dis. Mar 2005; 64(3): 481–483.
PMCID: PMC1755392

Increased plasma soluble CD40 ligand concentrations in systemic sclerosis and association with pulmonary arterial hypertension and digital ulcers


Objective: To compare sCD40L concentrations in patients with systemic sclerosis and healthy controls.

Methods: Quantitative sandwich ELISA was used to measure plasma sCD40L in systemic sclerosis (n = 50) and matched healthy controls (n = 20). Patients with systemic sclerosis had limited cutaneous disease (29), digital ulcers (14), pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) (10), pulmonary fibrosis on CT (23), positive anti-Scl70 (14), and anti-centromere antibodies (10). Calcium channel blockers were discontinued 72 hours before measurements.

Results: Median (range) sCD40L concentration (pg/ml) was higher in systemic sclerosis than in controls (495 (10 to 7720) v 79 (50 to 118); p = 0.003), in limited cutaneous disease v diffuse disease (620 (20 to 7720) v 250 (10 to 2690); p = 0.005), in patients with digital ulcers v those without (1430 (36 to 7720) v 370 (10 to 2320); p = 0.002), and in those with PAH v those without (995 (15 to 3850) v 400 (10 to 7720); p = 0.048). sCD40L correlated with pulmonary arterial pressure estimated by Doppler echocardiography (r = 0.41; p = 0.005).

Conclusions: The soluble form of CD40L is increased in plasma in systemic sclerosis and may be associated with vascular complications of the disease.

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Figures and Tables

Figure 1
 sCD40L (individual plasma concentrations (pg/ml) and median values) in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc, n = 50) and controls (n = 20); in SSc patients with (n = 14) and without digital ulcers (n = 36); and in SSc patients with (n = 10) ...

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