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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2014 May;53(5):854-9. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/ket432. Epub 2014 Jan 3.

Therapeutic vascular angiogenesis for intractable macroangiopathy-related digital ulcer in patients with systemic sclerosis: a pilot study.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular and Regenerative Medicine, Nippon Medical School, 1-1-5 Sendagi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8603, Japan.



SSc causes intractable ischaemic ulcers. To avoid major amputation, we examined the safety and efficacy of therapeutic vascular angiogenesis for digital ulcers due to SSc.


A single-centre, open-label pilot study was conducted in patients with an ischaemic digital ulcer [n = 40, mean age 65 years (s.d. 8), Rutherford class III-5 or III-6) due to lcSSc (n = 11) or arteriosclerosis obliterans (ASO; n = 29). Bone marrow mononuclear cells (0.4-5.1 × 10(10) cells in total) were administered into the ischaemic limbs. We evaluated short-term safety and efficacy by means of a pain scale, (99m)Tc-tetrofosmin scintigraphy and transcutaneous oxygen tension (TcPO2) before and 4 weeks after treatment. Also, the 2-year outcome was compared.


There was a case of amputation in each group within 4 weeks after therapy. The pain scale significantly decreased in both groups [lcSSc 93 mm (s.d. 9) to 11 (s.d. 16), P < 0.01; ASO 77 mm (s.d. 22) to 16 (s.d. 13), P < 0.01] and TcPO2 significantly improved [lcSSc 9.0 mmHg (s.d. 9) to 35 (s.d. 14), P < 0.01; ASO 18 mmHg (s.d. 10) to 29 (s.d. 21), P < 0.05). At the 2-year follow-up, the limb amputation rate was 9.1% in lcSSc and 20.7% in ASO (P = 0.36), while the recurrence rate was 18.2% in lcSSc and 17.2% in ASO (P = 0.95). All-cause mortality was 27.3% in lcSSc and 17.2% in ASO (P = 0.65).


In patients with lcSSc, bone marrow mononuclear cell implantation provides clinical benefit and is safe, without major adverse reactions, and may become an effective strategy.


UMIN-CTR,, no. UMIN000004112.


cell transplantation; haematopoietic; scleroderma and related disorders; stem cell; vasculitis

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