Gut Disease in Systemic Sclerosis—New Approaches to Common Problems

  • Jessica Zhu
  • Tracy FrechEmail author
Scleroderma (C Denton, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Scleroderma


Purpose of review

The goal of this manuscript is to discuss the new diagnostic and potential treatment options for gut disease in systemic sclerosis (SSc). The concepts of quantification of gut perfusion and motility are reviewed. The risks of empiric therapeutics and challenges of studying the microbiome in SSc are discussed.

Recent findings

There are diagnostics that can provide information on gut perfusion and function that are of value in SSc. Easily implemented diagnostic tests are critical to avoid complications of empiric therapy. The role of the microbiome and drugs that target dysmotility are areas of active research.


SSc-related gastrointestinal tract involvement can be heterogeneous in clinical presentation and disease course. Noninvasive gastrointestinal measurement techniques that quantify neural communications with microvasculature in SSc can potentially guide the proper addition and discontinuation of therapeutics. The role of the microbiome and the role of nitric oxide on gut function are important areas of research for understanding gut dysfunction in SSc.


Systemic sclerosis Scleroderma Gastrointestinal tract dysmotility Microbiome Ischemia-reperfusion 



The authors would like to recognize the University of Utah CCTS/PPH Translational Science Grant, which funded Dr. Bryan Jones and Dr. Erinn Downs-Kelly who performed the CMP analyses described in this article.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of MedicineUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Internal Medicine, Division of RheumatologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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