Objective: Systemic sclerosis (SSc; scleroderma) is characterized by a unique widespread vascular involvement that can lead to severe digital ischemia, pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), or other organ dysfunction. Microthrombotic events and procoagulation factors such as anti-beta2-glycoprotein I (anti-beta2GPI) or anticardiolipin antibodies (aCL) may be implicated in the development of these manifestations. This study was undertaken to investigate whether anti-beta2GPI and aCL are correlated with macrovascular disease, including ischemic digital loss and PAH, in SSc patients.
Methods: Seventy-five SSc patients with a history of ischemic digital loss and 75 matched SSc controls were evaluated. Anticentromere antibodies (ACAs), anti-beta2GPI, and aCL were measured, and clinical associations were determined using conditional and simple logistic regression models.
Results: Positivity for anti-beta2GPI was significantly more frequent in SSc patients with digital loss than in patients without digital loss (P=0.017), with the IgA isotype of anti-beta2GPI showing the strongest association (odds ratio [OR] 4.0). There was no significant difference in aCL frequency between patients with digital loss and control patients. After adjustment for demographic characteristics, disease type, smoking, and ACA, anti-beta2GPI positivity was significantly associated with active digital ischemia (OR 9.4), echocardiographically evident PAH (OR 4.8), and mortality (OR 2.9). ACA positivity was associated with history of digital loss (OR 3.28), but not with PAH or mortality. History of digital loss was strongly associated with increased mortality (OR 12.5).
Conclusion: Anti-beta2GPI is significantly associated with macrovascular disease in SSc and independently predicts mortality. It is unclear whether it has a pathogenetic role or simply reveals the presence of underlying endothelial injury. The use of anti-beta2GPI as a biomarker of vascular disease in SSc should be further explored.