Elevated vascular endothelial growth factor in systemic sclerosis

Jin Jung Choi, Do June Min, Mi La Cho, So Youn Min, Seon Joon Kim, Shin Seok Lee, Kyung Su Park, Young Il Seo, Wan Uk Kim, Sung Hwan Park, Chul Soo Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Objective. To determine the serum levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) and to search for relationships between its serum levels and the clinical manifestations. Methods. Serum levels of VEGF in patients with SSc and healthy controls were determined by ELISA. At the time of blood sampling, individual organ involvement was assessed, and a video microscope and PC based image processing were used to visualize nailfold capillaries and to quantify capillary density. Results. Serum levels of VEGF in 48 patients with SSc were significantly higher than in 30 controls (432 ± 356 vs 91 ± 64 pg/ml; p < 0.001). Patients with diffuse cutaneous SSc (n = 21) had higher levels of serum VEGF than those with limited cutaneous SSc (n = 27) (432 ± 356 vs 135 ± 127 pg/ml; p < 0.001). Serum VEGF levels correlated well with the extent of skin sclerosis, as determined by modified Rodnan skin score (r = 0.656, p < 0.001) and serum TGF-β levels (r = 0.530, p < 0.001). In particular, serum VEGF levels were inversely correlated with the capillary density of nailfold (r = -0.649, p < 0.001). However, no significant differences were found in the serum levels of VEGF between patients with systemic organ involvement and those without. Conclusion. The extent of skin sclerosis may contribute to the elevation of serum VEGF and high VEGF levels may serve as a surrogate indicator of capillary damage in SSc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1529-1533
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003


  • Angiogenesis
  • Capillary density
  • Nailfold capillary microscopy
  • Rodnan skin score
  • Systemic sclerosis
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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