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Arthritis Rheum. 1992 Jul;35(7):771-5.

Adhesion of peripheral blood mononuclear cells to vascular endothelium in patients with systemic sclerosis (scleroderma).

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Department of Dermatology, Warsaw Medical School, Poland.



Perivascular infiltrates in skin, subcutaneous tissue, and internal organs are a characteristic feature of early systemic sclerosis (SSc). We studied the first step of migration of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) through the vessel wall to the extravascular space, i.e., adhesion of PBMC to endothelial cells (EC), in patients with various forms of SSc (limited scleroderma, diffuse scleroderma, and the transitional form).


Radioisotope-labeled patient PBMC were coincubated with umbilical cord EC in vitro, and the percentage adhesion was measured.


Adhesion of PBMC to EC was markedly decreased, while adhesion of isolated active rosette-forming cells (ARFC) was significantly increased, in SSc patients compared with healthy controls. Decreased adhesion of PBMC to EC was found to correlate with a diminished percentage of ARFC in the peripheral blood. Preincubation of PBMC from healthy donors with interleukin-2 (IL-2) enhanced their adhesion to EC, while preincubation of PBMC from SSc patients with this cytokine resulted in a decrease in adhesion in 10 of 14 individuals. IL-1, interferon-gamma, and transforming growth factor beta had no significant effect on adhesion of SSc patient PBMC to EC. Differences in adhesion of PBMC to EC among the SSc subgroups were not significant.


Our findings suggest that in SSc, activation of subpopulations of PBMC leads to their enhanced adhesion to vascular endothelium in vivo and to migration of these cells to the extravascular space, resulting in the elimination from the peripheral blood of those PBMC with high ability to adhere to EC.

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