Background: Behçet's disease (BD) is a chronic systemic inflammatory disorder affecting multiple organs with a generalized vasculitis of arteries and veins. Endothelial dysfunction is one of the prominent features of BD. Adrenomedullin (AM) is a peptide produced not only in normal adrenal medulla but also in the vascular smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells, and its role in the course of BD has not been previously described.
Objective: To detect changes of plasma AM concentrations in patients with BD compared with age- and sex-matched healthy subjects by using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPCL). We also investigated if disease activity or the duration of BD correlates with AM levels.
Methods: Forty-two consecutive patients with BD (38.5 +/- 11.1 years, 19 male and 23 female) and 20 healthy age- and sex-matched control subjects (39.5 +/- 10.9 years, 8 male and 12 female) were included in this study. We measured plasma AM levels by HPCL, and acute-phase reactants including alpha(1)-antitrypsin and alpha(2)-macroglobulin, neutrophil count and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
Results: Mean +/- SD plasma AM levels in patients with BD (73.22 +/- 25.55 pmol/l) were significantly higher (p < 0.001) than in healthy control volunteers (21.35 +/- 12.37 pmol/l). Patients with active BD had similar plasma AM concentrations (79.32 +/- 21.89 pmol/l) with patients with inactive disease (67.44 +/- 29.92 pmol/l). On the other hand, patients with longer duration of the disease (mean duration, 13.9 +/- 3.8 years) had significantly higher plasma AM levels (83.99 +/- 19.71 pmol/l; p = 0.005) than patients (62.45 +/- 26.57 pmol/l) with shorter duration of the disease (mean duration, 5. 5 +/- 2.3 years). All acute-phase reaction parameters were found to be significantly increased in the active disease.
Conclusion: Considering its endothelial cell implications, AM may be involved in reparatory vessel endothelium mechanisms, especially in the chronic disease.
Copyright 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel