Clonal haematopoiesis is increased in early onset in systemic sclerosis.

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SSc is an autoimmune disease characterized by fibrosis, microangiopathy and immune dysfunctions including dysregulation of proinflammatory cytokines. Clonal haematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP) is defined by the acquisition of somatic mutations in haematopoietic stem cells leading to detectable clones in the blood. Recent data have shown a higher risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with CHIP resulting from increased production of proinflammatory cytokines and accelerated atherosclerosis. Eventual links between CHIP and autoimmune diseases are undetermined. The aim of our study was to evaluate the prevalence of CHIP in SSc patients and its association with clinical phenotype.Forty-one genes frequently mutated in myeloid malignancies were sequenced in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 90 SSc patients and 44 healthy donors.A total of 15 somatic variants were detected in 13/90 SSc patients (14%) and four somatic variants in 4/44 (9%) healthy donors (HD) (P = 0.58). The prevalence of CHIP was significantly higher in younger SSc patients than in HD: 25% (6/24) vs 4% (1/26) (P = 0.045) under 50 years and 17% (7/42) vs 3% (1/38) (P = 0.065) under 60 years. The prevalence of CHIP in patients over 70 years was similar in SSc patients and healthy donors. The most common mutations occurred in DNMT3A (seven variants). No major clinical differences were observed between SSc patients with or without CHIP.Whether CHIP increases the risk to develop SSc or is a consequence of a SSc-derived modified bone marrow micro-environment remains to be explored.

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