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BACKGROUND Microvascular lesions are a predominant feature in systemic sclerosis (SSc) and seem to play a central pathogenetic role. Recently, we graded scleroderma microangiopathy by nailfold videocapillaroscopy (NVC) into three NVC patterns (early, active and late). The aim of the present study was to confirm, in a larger number of SSc patients, the(More)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as well as most autoimmune disorders results from a combination of several predisposing factors including the relations between epitopes of the trigger agent (i.e., virus, self-antigens) and histocompatibility epitopes (i.e., HLA), the status of the stress response system including the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis(More)
Generally, androgens exert suppressive effects on both humoral and cellular immune responses and seem to represent natural anti-inflammatory hormones; in contrast, estrogens exert immunoenhancing activities, at least on humoral immune response. Low levels of gonadal androgens (testosterone/dihydrotestosterone) and adrenal androgens (dehydroepiandrosterone(More)
BACKGROUND Leflunomide and its active metabolite A77 1726 reversibly inhibits the enzyme dihydro-orotate dehydrogenase, the rate limiting step in de novo synthesis of pyrimidines and progression of the cell cycle in different cell lines, mainly activated T lymphocytes. OBJECTIVE To analyse in vitro the possible anti-inflammatory effects exerted by A77(More)
The pineal hormone melatonin (MLT) exerts a variety of effects on the immune system. MLT activates immune cells and enhances inflammatory cytokine and nitric oxide production. Cytokines are strongly involved in the synovial immune and inflammatory response in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and reach the peak of concentration in the early morning, when MLT serum(More)
Sex hormones are implicated in the immune response, with estrogens as enhancers at least of the humoral immunity and androgens and progesterone as natural immune-suppressors. In male rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, androgen replacement seems to ameliorate the disease and supports their involvement in the pathophysiology of the disease. The combination(More)
OBJECTIVES We investigated whether the non-invasive determination of coronary flow reserve (CFR), as evaluated by transthoracic Doppler echocardiography, might be a potential method to detect early dysfunction of cardiovascular system in patients affected by systemic sclerosis (SSc) without clinical signs or symptoms of cardiac impairment. The possible(More)
This paper aims to evaluate adrenal gland hormone levels in patients with polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) during glucocorticoid (GC) therapy. A lower than expected basal production of cortisol was found in active and glucocorticoid-untreated PMR patients, particularly females. The abrupt onset of PMR with clinical features similar to those of the(More)