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Br J Dermatol. 2009 Apr;160(4):864-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2008.08933.x. Epub 2008 Nov 25.

Pilot study of dual-wavelength (532 and 633 nm) laser Doppler imaging and infrared thermography of morphoea.

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Rheumatic Diseases Centre, University of Manchester, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Salford, UK.



Little is known about the pathophysiology of localized scleroderma (skin fibrosis, also termed 'morphoea'), although it is likely that microvascular dysfunction is a contributing factor.


Our aim was to investigate different components of blood flow in morphoea using infrared thermography and dual-wavelength laser Doppler imaging (LDI).


Eight plaques of morphoea (in eight patients) were studied. Skin temperature and blood flow were assessed in both affected (within plaque) and adjacent unaffected (perilesional) skin.


Skin temperature (representing blood flow) was higher in all areas of morphoea when compared with uninvolved skin. Perfusion within the plaques was found to be increased, when compared with uninvolved skin; in all cases as imaged by red wavelength (633 nm) LDI (representing blood flow through large, thermoregulatory vessels) and in six of eight cases by green wavelength (532 nm) LDI (representing nutritive capillary blood flow). The median (range) skin temperature difference between plaque and perilesional skin was 1.1 (0.7-2.2) degrees C and the median (range) ratios of plaque/perilesional perfusion as measured by red and green wavelength LDI were 1.3 (1.1-1.9) and 1.1 (0.8-1.5) arbitrary perfusion units, respectively.


Microvascular perfusion is increased within morphoea plaques and the increased response detected by both thermography and red wavelength LDI, as compared with green wavelength LDI, suggests that the increase in perfusion is more marked in deeper, larger, rather than in superficial, smaller vessels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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