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Nifedipine effect on red cell rheological properties in patients with systemic scleroderma

Posted Mar 17 2010 12:00am

Systemic scleroderma is an autoimmune disease, due to a connective tissue alteration characterized by extracellular matrix increase in the skin and internal organs. It is already known that the Raynaud's phenomenon and the microcapillary obliteration lead to ischemia and peripheral tissue injury. The ischemia-reperfusion phenomenon releases free radicals, that react with red blood cells (RBCs) membrane components originating lipid peroxidation and impairment of the ATP-Ca++ pump, two possible mechanisms responsible of disease pathogenesis.

Nifedipine is a Ca++-channel antagonist that has been used for a long time in Raynaud's phenomenon treatment. In the present study we were able to demonstrate that erythrocyte deformability and two other related variables such as membrane fluidity and osmotic fragility improve significantly with nifedipine therapy. It is likely that nifedipine inhibiting cytoplasmic calcium accumulation could restore some red blood cell membrane properties.

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