Serum klotho concentrations inversely correlate with the severity of nailfold capillaroscopic patterns in patients with systemic sclerosis

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R. Talotta *
F. Rigamonti
T. Letizia
S. Bongiovanni
M.C. Ditto
M. Antivalle
S. Santandrea
F. Atzeni
T. Vago
P. Sarzi-Puttini
(*) Corresponding Author:
R. Talotta |


Klotho is a transmembrane and soluble glycoprotein that governs vascular integrity. Previous studies have demonstrated reduced serum klotho concentrations in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), and it is known that klotho deficiency can impair the healing of digital ulcers related to microvessel damage. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between serum klotho levels and nailfold capillaroscopic abnormalities in SSc patients. We retrospectively enrolled 54 consecutive patients with SSc diagnosed on the basis of the 2013 EULAR/ACR criteria [11 with diffuse SSc; 47 females; median age 68.0 years (IQ 18); median disease duration 11.0 years (IQ 7)]. Serum klotho concentrations were determined by means of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. On the basis of the 2000 classification of Cutolo et al., 14 patients had normal nailfold capillaroscopic findings, 8 had an early scleroderma pattern, 21 an active scleroderma pattern, and 11 a late scleroderma pattern. The median serum klotho concentration was 0.29 ng/mL (IQ 1). Regression analysis of variation showed an inverse correlation between serum klotho concentrations and the severity of the capillaroscopic pattern (p=0.02; t -2.2284), which was not influenced by concomitant treatment. Logistic regression did not reveal any significant association between the risk of developing digital ulcers and nailfold capillaroscopic patterns, serum klotho levels, or concomitant medications. The presence of avascular areas significantly correlated with calcinosis (p=0.006). In line with previous studies, our findings confirm that klotho plays a role in preventing microvascular damage detected with nailfold capillaroscopy.

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