Objectives: To investigate whether circulating levels of interleukin 1 beta (IL-1 beta) or soluble interleukin 2 receptor (sIL-2R) reflect clinical disease status and response to therapy in scleroderma.
Methods: Plasma IL-1 beta and serum sIL-2R were measured by ELISA in 19 patients with limited cutaneous scleroderma (9 with extraesophageal internal organ involvement), 5 patients with diffuse cutaneous scleroderma and internal organ involvement, and 11 healthy controls, as well as serially over 12 months in 4 patients with scleroderma treated with cyclosporine.
Results: IL-1 beta levels were similar in scleroderma and control subject groups. sIL-2R levels were significantly higher in subjects with scleroderma involving internal organs (elevated in 93%), and correlated with erythrocyte sedimentation rate. sIL-2R levels decreased over 12 months in 2 of 4 patients taking cyclosporine in whom other variables remained unchanged.
Conclusions: Elevated serum sIL-2R is a marker of internal organ involvement in scleroderma and warrants further investigation in assessing disease prognosis and response to therapy.