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A Journal on Internal Medicine
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Panminerva Medica 2001 December;43(4):257-61
Plasma levels of endothelin-1 increase in patients with sarcoidosis and fall after disease remission
Letizia C., Danese A., Reale M. G. *, Caliumi C., Delfini E., Subioli S., Cerci S., D’Erasmo E.
From the Department of Clinical Science, Chair of Internal Medicine
*Department of Experimental Medicine and Pathology, University “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy
Background. Sarcoidosis is a chronic systemic disease, characterized by an imbalance of immunity processes and the presence of granuloma.
Endothelin-1, a new vasoactive and bronchoconstrictive peptide, is a powerful mitogen for smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts and plays a role in the inflammation state. We postulate that endothelin-1 has a role in sarcoidosis.
Methods. We studied the behaviour of circulating levels of endothelin-1 in 20 patients with sarcoidosis and its correlation with some biochemical parameters of activity disease, such as erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and serum angiotensin-converting enzyme (SACE). We measured serum levels of ESR, SACE, calcium and plasma endothelin-1 levels in all patients at the beginning of the study and one again in 9 patients with clinical-biochemical remission of disease after steroid treatment.
Results. In patients with sarcoidosis, circulating levels of endothelin-1, SACE and ESR were significantly higher (p<0.001) than those of healthy subjects. Moreover, in patients with pulmonary involvement, there was a significant statistical difference (p<0.001) between endothelin-1 levels and radiological stage compared to normal subjects. In the 9 patients with remission of disease, both endothelin-1 levels and parameters of activity disease normalized.
Conclusions. Our results seem to suggest that the increase of plasma endothelin-1 levels in active sarcoidosis can represent an expression of the endothelial dysfunction and reflect the picture of cellular activation.