Serum defensin levels in patients with systemic sclerosis

Gedik T. E., Kucuk H., Göker B., Haznedaroğlu Ş., Paşaoğlu H., Varan O., ...More

ADVANCES IN RHEUMATOLOGY, vol.60, no.1, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 60 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1186/s42358-020-00156-2
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Keywords: Systemic sclerosis, Alpha defensin, Beta defensin, Antimicrobial peptides, Pathogenesis, Inflammation, BETA-DEFENSIN, ALPHA-DEFENSINS, ANTIMICROBIAL PEPTIDES, PLASMA, CLASSIFICATION, RELEASE, LL-37
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


Background Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is an autoimmune disease characterized by fibrosis of skin and lung as well as involvement of kidney, gastrointestinal system and heart. Aetiology and exact mechanism of disease is poorly understood. The association between antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and other diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, diffuse panbronchiolitis, pulmoner alveolar proteinosis and psoriasis have been reported. A small number of studies have examined the role of AMPs on autoimmune diseases which has not been studied in scleroderma yet. We aimed to investigate AMP serum levels and their association with disease characteristics of SSc. Methods Forty-two patients (40 female, mean age 42 years) and 38 healthy subjects (32 female, mean age 38 years) were enrolled. For SSc patients, the following data were recorded: disease subset (limited/diffuse), autoantibodies (antinuclear, anti-centromere (ACA), and anti-SCL-70), blood tests, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and C-reactive protein (CRP), modified Rodnan skin score, presence and history of digital ulcers, kidney, gastrointestinal disease and lung involvement assessed by computed tomography and pulmonary function tests. Association between serum AMPs and disease characteristics were analysed. Results Twenty-nine of the patients had diffuse (69%) and 13 of the patients had limited (31%) systemic sclerosis. Average disease duration was 5.5 years. Pulmonary involvement was detected in 20 patients (47.6%). Serum concentration of alpha defensin was higher than healthy subjects (563 +/- 415 vs 377 +/- 269 ng/mL, p = 0.02). However, no difference was observed for beta-1 and beta-2 defensins in SSc patients and healthy controls. In sub-group analysis patients with interstitial lung disease had higher levels of alpha defensin than those without lung involvement (684 +/- 473 vs 430 +/- 299 ng/ml, p = 0.04). There was also correlation between alfa defensin serum concentrations and CRP (r = 0.34). Conclusions Alpha defensin levels are increased in scleroderma patients and correlated with lung involvement indicating a role in the pathogenesis of disease.