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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2000 Jul;162(1):258-63.

Serum levels of surfactant proteins A and D are useful biomarkers for interstitial lung disease in patients with progressive systemic sclerosis.

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Third Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Biochemistry, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.


To find a less-invasive and lung-specific clinical biomarker, we measured serum levels of surfactant proteins A and D (SP-A and SP-D) by sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays in 42 patients with progressive systemic sclerosis (PSS) to evaluate their significance in relation to the presence of interstitial lung disease (ILD) and to assess their diagnostic merits. The patients were divided into two groups based on findings by chest computed tomography (CT): 30 patients with ILD (CT-positive ILD group), and 12 patients without any lung abnormalities (CT-negative ILD group). The CT-positive ILD group was further divided into two groups: 24 patients with ILD detectable by chest plain radiography (X-ray-positive ILD group) and six patients with ILD showing no abnormality (X-ray-negative ILD group). The levels of SP-A and SP-D in sera were significantly higher in the CT-positive ILD group than in the CT-negative ILD group. They were also significantly higher in the X-ray-positive ILD group than in the CT-negative ILD group. In the X-ray-negative ILD group, their levels were higher than those of the CT-negative ILD group. We next estimated sensitivity and specificity of SP-A, SP-D, and X-ray for detecting ILD on CT. Sensitivity of SP-D was high (77%) as well as that of X-ray (80%), whereas SP-A showed a low sensitivity (33%). Remarkably, five of six patients in the X-ray-negative ILD group showed SP-D concentrations over its cut-off level, thereby demonstrating that an SP-D assay contributes to the detection of ILD overlooked by X-ray. Moreover, a combination of X-ray and SP-D dramatically increases sensitivity to 97%. Specificity of SP-A, SP-D, and X-ray to the CT-negative ILD group was 100%, 83%, and 100%, respectively. In conclusion, this study indicates that elevated levels of serum SP-A and SP-D reflect well the presence of ILD and that the combination of SP-D and X-ray contributes to reduce the risk of clinicians overlooking ILD complicated by PSS, although a repetition in another set of subjects is needed to confirm these indications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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