Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is an autoimmune disorder and commonly presents with vascular system involvement and motility disorders in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Vinculin is a cytoskeletal protein that plays major roles in cell-cell adhesion and is expressed in the neuromuscular apparatus of the gut. Antibodies to vinculin have been identified as a biomarker of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Our aim was to evaluate serum anti-vinculin antibodies in patients with SSc.
Patients were recruited from two SSc centers: group I (GI-enriched group), University of Leeds, UK, and Group II (vascular predominant), University of California, Los Angeles. Serum samples of patients recruited from two SSc centres, Group I ( GI enriched group), University of Leeds, UK and Group II (Vascular predominant), University of California, Los Angeles) were collected. Samples from age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers (N = 88) were used as controls.
Group I (GI-enriched group, N = 83) patients were 58 [50–67] years old; 83% were females with a median body mass index (BMI) of 20.3 (21.2 ± 4.5) [18–23]. Group II (vascular-enriched group, N = 72) patients were 58 [50–67] years old; 80% were female, and BMI was 23.9 (21.3–26.9). More subjects in group I had prominent GI involvement (N = 55, 66%) than group II (12, 16%), p ˂ 0.0001. Anti-vinculin antibody levels in SSc group I (1.3 [0.9]) were significantly higher than in HC (0.7 [0.8]; p = 0.002). When pooled, circulating anti-vinculin levels in both SSc groups remained significantly higher than in the HC group (p = 0.02). Higher anti-vinculin levels were associated with higher GI-visual analogue scale (GI-VAS) scores and specifically with GI-VAS scores of ≥ 4 (p < 0.0001).
This study demonstrates that elevated anti-vinculin antibody levels are common in SSc and suggests a potential link between increased anti-vinculin levels and GI tract symptoms.
• Anti-vinculin antibodies are elevated in systemic sclerosis and are relatively common.
• In these SSc patients, anti-vinculin antibodies are associated with higher levels of GI symptoms in SSc.
• A potential link between anti-vinculin antibodies and vascular system involvement was shown.
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Yossra Suliman, Suzanne Kafaja, Sunny J OH, G. Bagnato, G. Abignano, X. Liu, M. Alemam, I. Valera, RR. Singh, G. Barlow, F. Del Galdo, and D.E. Furst have no disclosures. Dr. Pimentel is a board member of Gemelli Biotech and has equity in this company (> $10,000). Ali Rezaie has received speaker/consultant fees and research funding from Valeant Pharmaceuticals and has equity in Gemelli Biotech (all > $10,000). Walter Morales is a consultant for Gemelli Biotech (< $10,000).
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This work was accepted as a poster presentation and as an oral presentation by the American College of Rheumatology in 2016 and 2018 respectively (https://acrabstracts.org/?post_type=abstracts&s=vinculin) (2018 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting(Anti-vinculin Antibodies in Systemic Sclerosis (SSc): A Potential Biomarker Linking Vascular and Gastrointestinal System Involvement in Two Phenotypically Distinctive SSc Groups) and 2016 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting (Anti-vinculin Antibodies: A Novel Biomarker in Systemic Sclerosis, and Its Association with Vascular Involvement).
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Suliman, Y., Kafaja, S., Oh, S.J. et al. Anti-vinculin antibodies in scleroderma (SSc): a potential link between autoimmunity and gastrointestinal system involvement in two SSc cohorts. Clin Rheumatol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10067-020-05479-5
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