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Concept: Raynaud's phenomenon


OBJECTIVE: MQX-503 is a novel nitroglycerine preparation designed to absorb quickly and allow local vasodilatation in the skin. We examined the efficacy and tolerability of this medication in Raynaud phenomenon (RP) in a laboratory-based study. METHODS: In this multi-centre, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, cross-over study, subjects were treated with 0.5% or 1.25% nitroglycerine or placebo gel. Subjects received each dose twice in a randomised order. Each study session consisted of baseline laser Doppler measurements, study gel application and 5 min of cold chamber exposure (-20°C). Blood flow (BF) was measured at the end of exposure and for the next 120 min at set intervals. Other outcome measures included achievement of baseline BF; the time to achieve 50% and 70% baseline skin temperature (ST); and pain, tingling and numbness scores. RESULTS: 37 subjects completed 214 treatment periods. Time to achieve baseline BF was significantly shorter in the two treated groups (HR=1.77 and 2.02 for 0.5% and 1.25% vs placebo, respectively). The proportion of subjects achieving baseline BF was 45.8% for placebo, 66.2% for 0.5% and 69% for 1.25% (p=0.01 and p=0.002 for 0.5% and 1.25% vs placebo, respectively). No meaningful differences were seen in ST or pain/numbness/tingling scores. Treatment was well tolerated with no serious adverse events. CONCLUSIONS: Treatment with MQX-503 caused a significant improvement in skin BF compared with placebo. Data from this proof of concept study suggest benefit of MQX-503 in subjects with RP.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Measurement, Skin, Paresthesia, Placebo, Topical, Proof of concept, Raynaud's phenomenon


Raynaud’s phenomenon often precedes the diagnosis of systemic sclerosis and is the first symptom of the disease in many cases. Antinuclear antibody positivity can assist in the early identification of cases of isolated Raynaud’s phenomenon likely to progress to systemic sclerosis. However, the specific differences between rate of progression for different scleroderma hallmark antibodies is less clear. We review the predictive potential of ANA positivity and nailfold capillaroscopy for identifying cases of Raynaud’s phenomenon which may progress to connective tissue diseases. We also have reviewed data from our own large scleroderma cohort to explore the relationship between antibody subtype and time to development of SSc. Duration of pre-existing Raynaud’s phenomenon may be an important determinant of the profile of systemic sclerosis cases identified through screening. Ninety-five percent of our patients with isolated Raynaud’s phenomenon, negative autoimmune serology on more than one visit and normal capillaroscopy score showed no progression to connective tissue disease. Duration of antecedent Raynaud’s phenomenon differs between disease subsets and scleroderma-specific ANA patterns.

Concepts: Immune system, Blood, Rheumatology, Autoimmune diseases, Scleroderma, Systemic scleroderma, Raynaud's phenomenon, CREST syndrome


Raynaud’s phenomenon and digital ulcers (DUs) are frequent among systemic sclerosis (SSc) patients. Our aim was to investigate the diagnostic and predictive value for DU of endothelial dysfunction biomarkers (flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), serum levels of endothelin-1 (ET-1), and ADMA), angiogenic/angiostatic biomarkers (vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), endoglin, and endostatin), and nailfold videocapillaroscopy (NVC). We compared our results with a literature review. In a cohort study of 77 SSc patients, we followed two groups of patients: (i) naïve DU patients (39) and (ii) active DU at baseline (38 patients) for 3 years. Telangiectasia (p < 0.001) and diffuse disease subset (p = 0.001) were significantly more frequent in patients with active DU at enrolment. Additionally, NVC late scleroderma pattern (AUC 0.846, 95%CI 0.760-0.932), lower values of FMD (AUC 0.754, 95%CI 0.643-0.864), increased serum levels of ET-1 (AUC 0.758, 95%CI 0.649-0.866), ADMA (AUC 0.634, 95%CI 0.511-0.757), and endoglin as well as low VEGF serum levels (AUC 0.705, 95%CI 0.579-0.830) were significantly associated to new DU events in the 3-year follow-up. Cox regression analysis showed that FMD > 9.41 % (HR 0.37, 95%CI 0.14-0.99); ET-1 >11.85 pmol/L (HR 3.81, 95%CI 1.41-10.26) and late NVC pattern (HR 2.29, 95%CI 0.97-5.38) were independent predictors of DU recurrence. When estimating the probability of occurrence of first DU in naïve DU patients, only late NVC pattern (HR 12.66, 95%CI 2.06-77.89) was an independent predictor factor. In conclusion, late scleroderma patterns in NVC are the best independent predictors of SSc patients who are at risk of developing DU. Endothelial dysfunction assessed by FMD and ET-1 was also found to be an independent predictor of DU recurrence in a 3-year follow-up.

Concepts: Angiogenesis, Vascular endothelial growth factor, Rheumatology, Endothelium, Scleroderma, Systemic scleroderma, Raynaud's phenomenon, CREST syndrome


Raynaud’s phenomenon is common but often comes to medical attention only after many years. This review updates the understanding of the pathogenesis, the approach to management, and current approaches to drug therapy.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Rheumatology, Therapy, Raynaud's phenomenon


To report the predictive value of nail-fold capillaroscopy (NFC) patterns of vasculopathy for systemic sclerosis (Scleroderma; SSc) in an unselected cohort of patients with Raynaud’s phenomenon (RP).

Concepts: Rheumatology, Autoimmune diseases, Finger, Scleroderma, Systemic scleroderma, Raynaud's phenomenon, CREST syndrome, Mucinoses


Raynaud’s phenomenon (RP) is a well defined clinical syndrome characterized by recurrent episodes of digital vasospasm triggered by exposure to physical/chemical or emotional stress. RP has been classified as primary or secondary, depending on whether it occurs as an isolated condition (pRP) or is associated to an underlying disease, mainly a connective tissue disease (CTD-RP). In both cases, it manifests with unique “triple” (pallor, cyanosis and erythema), or “double” color changes. pRP is usually a benign condition, while sRP can evolve and be complicated by acral digital ulcers and gangrene, which may require surgical treatment. The pathogenesis of RP has not yet been entirely clarified, nor it is known whether autoantibodies have a role in RP. Even so, recent advances in our understanding of the pathophysiology have highlighted novel potential therapeutic targets. Aim of this review is to discuss the etiology, epidemiology, risk factors, clinical manifestations, recently disclosed pathogenic mechanisms underlying RP and their correlation with the available therapeutic options, focusing primarily on pRP and CTD-RP.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, The Canon of Medicine, Raynaud's phenomenon


To systematically review the literature with regard to the prevalence, incidence, risk factors and associations of primary Raynaud’s phenomenon (PRP).

Concepts: Epidemiology, Medical statistics, Raynaud's phenomenon



RP is the most common manifestation of SSc and a major cause of disease-related morbidity. This review provides a detailed appraisal of the patient experience of SSc-RP and potential implications for disease classification, patient-reported outcome instrument development and SSc-RP clinical trial design. The review explores the clinical features of SSc-RP, the severity and burden of SSc-RP symptoms and the impact of SSc-RP on function, work and social participation, body image dissatisfaction and health-related quality of life in SSc. Where management of SSc-RP is concerned, the review focuses on the ‘patient experience’ of interventions for SSc-RP, examining geographic variation in clinical practice and potential barriers to the adoption of treatment recommendations concerning best-practice management of SSc-RP. Knowledge gaps are highlighted that could form the focus of future research. A more thorough understanding of the patient experience could support the development of novel reported outcome instruments for assessing SSc-RP.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Rheumatology, Clinical research, Clinical trial protocol, Scleroderma, Systemic scleroderma, Raynaud's phenomenon, CREST syndrome


Most patients with Raynaud’s phenomenon (RP) have “benign” primary RP (PRP), but a minority have an underlying cause, for example a connective tissue disease such as systemic sclerosis (SSc). Secondary RP can be associated with structural as well as functional digital vascular changes and can be very severe, potentially progressing to digital ulceration or gangrene. The first step in management is to establish why the patient has RP. This short review discusses the role of nailfold capillaroscopy and thermography in the assessment of RP. Nailfold capillaroscopy examines microvascular structure, which is normal in PRP but abnormal in most patients with SSc: the inclusion of abnormal nailfold capillaries into the 2013 classification criteria for SSc behoves clinicians diagnosing connective tissue disease to be familiar with the technique. For those without access to the gold standard of high magnification videocapillaroscopy, a low magnification dermatoscope or USB microscope can be used. Thermography measures surface temperature and is therefore an indirect measure of blood blow, assessing digital vascular function (abnormal in both PRP and SSc). Until now, the use of thermography has been mainly confined to specialist centres and used mainly in research: this may change with development of mobile phone thermography.

Concepts: Blood, Rheumatology, Temperature, Scleroderma, Systemic scleroderma, Thermography, Raynaud's phenomenon, CREST syndrome