Autoimmune disorders: nail signs and therapeutic approaches

Dermatol Ther. Jan-Feb 2007;20(1):17-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8019.2007.00108.x.


Systemic sclerosis (scleroderma, SSc) is an autoimmune disease that targets small and medium-sized arteries and arterioles in the involved tissues, resulting in a fibrotic vasculopathy and tissue fibrosis. Several prominent nail and periungual changes are apparent in scleroderma. Examination of the nail fold capillaries can reveal the nature and extent of microvascular pathology in patients with collagen vascular disease and Raynaud's phenomenon. Among the complications stemming from Raynaud's phenomenon can be painful ischemic digital ulcers. This can be managed, and potentially prevented, through pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic means. Whereas oral calcium channel blockers remain the most convenient therapy, oral endothelin receptor antagonists and intravenous prostaglandins may be important therapeutic advances for ischemic digital vascular lesions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / complications
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy*
  • Dermatomyositis / complications
  • Dermatomyositis / diagnosis
  • Dermatomyositis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / diagnosis
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / therapy
  • Nail Diseases / etiology*
  • Nail Diseases / pathology
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / complications
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / diagnosis
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / therapy