Vascular endothelial growth factor in systemic lupus erythematosus - correlations with disease activity and nailfold capillaroscopy changes

Vol. 56 No. 3, 2015

ROMANIAN JOURNAL of MORPHOLOGY and EMBRYOLOGY

Andreea-Lili Barbulescu, Ananu-Florentin Vreju, Ana-Maria Buga, Raluca Elena Sandu, Cristina Criveanu, Diana-Rodica Tudorascu, Ioana-Andreea Gheonea, Paulina-Lucia Ciurea

Our study aimed to quantify serum VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) and its inter-relation with the severity of microvascular damage, assessed by nailfold capillaroscopy (NC), and to establish the possible relationship with disease activity score. We included 18 patients, diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and 17 gender and age-matched control subjects. For determining serum VEGF, we used a Human VEGF Assay kit-IBL. NC was performed, according to the standard method, using a video-capillaroscope Videocap 3.0, DS Medica, by the same examiner, blinded to clinical and laboratory data. Serum VEGF registered a mean value of 68.99+/-71.06 pg/mL for SLE patients and 31.84+/-11.74 pg/mL for controls, differences statistically significant; depending on disease activity, we found a mean value of 60.11+/-57.74 pg/mL, for patients with moderate disease activity vs. 30.96+/-11.51 pg/mL for the ones with a low activity (p=0.014). We found a moderately positive correlation, statistically significant (p=0.015), between serum level of VEGF and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI). Performing NC, we found changes in 88.88% of the patients; the most frequent were increased tortuosity, dilated capillaries, an increased length and a prominent subpapillary plexus. The presence of nailfold capillaroscopy changes and serum level of VEGF, correlated moderately, positive. Since serum levels of VEGF are higher in SLE patients, compared to controls, significantly different according to disease activity degree, and directly inter-related to abnormal NC patterns and a more active disease, we can include these accessible parameters in the routine evaluation, in order to better quantify the systemic damage, individualize the treatment, improve the outcome and life quality for these patients.

Corresponding author: Ioana-Andreea Gheonea, Lecturer, MD, PhD; e-mail: iagheonea@gmail.com

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