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Neutrophil respiratory burst is decreased in scleroderma and normalized by near-infrared mediated hyperthermia.

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:07pm

By Foerster J. and Colleague

BACKGROUND:

The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by fibroblasts has been suggested to contribute to scleroderma pathogenesis. Infrared-mediated hyperthermia has recently been shown to be of benefit in scleroderma.

AIM:

As the contribution of neutrophils and monocytes to ROS formation in scleroderma is unknown, we studied respiratory burst in these cell types. We also aimed to test the hypothesis that near-infrared (IRA) treatment may effect burst activity.

METHODS:

We determined respiratory burst in patients with scleroderma (n = 22) and age- and sex-matched controls (n = 20) at baseline, and after high-level stimulation by phorbolmyristyl acetate (PMA) and low-level stimulation by non-opsonized zymosan. Respiratory burst was also assessed before and after a series of infrared-mediated hyperthermia treatments.

RESULTS:

Unexpectedly, we observed no increase but instead a slight but statistically significant reduction in baseline and zymosan-stimulated respiratory burst in scleroderma neutrophils (P < 0.001) and monocytes (P < 0.005). This decrease in burst activity was nonspecific, as it was also observed in patients with another active inflammatory disease, psoriasis. IRA treatment induced a cell-type-specific normalization of respiratory burst only in neutrophils, but not in monocytes. Intriguingly, neutrophil-specific normalization of ROS formation persisted for 6 weeks after the end of IRA treatment, in concordance with the previously reported clinical responses to this therapy.

CONCLUSION:

Neutrophils and monocytes do not exhibit cell-autonomous overproduction of ROS in scleroderma, thereby implicating fibroblasts as main source for clinically relevant ROS accumulation. Furthermore, repeated mild infrared-mediated hyperthermia exerts a lasting cell-type-specific effect on neutrophils.

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