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Scleroderma

Also known as: Systemic Sclerosis

Description

Scleroderma is an ailment characterized by persistent hardening and contraction of the body’s Connective Tissues - especially the Connective Tissues of the Skin. It is regarded as an Autoimmune Disease. Scleroderma is a highly individualized disease - in some cases it causes only very mild symptoms and in other cases it causes life-threatening complications.

Prevalence

Scleroderma affects four times more women than men.
Scleroderma symptoms generally occur between the ages of 35 and 65.

These Substances may Alleviate Scleroderma

Hormones

Pregnenolone (50 - 100 mg per day) may be of some benefit to Scleroderma patients. references

Lipids

Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) may be useful for the treatment of Scleroderma. references

Peptides

Carnosine is speculated to be useful for the treatment of Scleroderma (due to its anti-Cross-Linking properties). references

Polyphenols

Curcumin may help to prevent/treat Scleroderma. references

Sulfuric Compounds

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) may “soften” the Skin of Scleroderma patients and may restore a significant amount of elasticity to the Skin of Scleroderma patients. references

Vitamins

Vitamin E may successfully control Scleroderma (due to its ability to stabilize Lysosomal Membranes). references

These Foods/Herbs may Alleviate Scleroderma

Herbs

Gotu Kola may reduce hardening of the Connective Tissues, reduces Joint Pain and improves Joint motility in Scleroderma patients (presumably by inhibiting the excessive synthesis of Collagen that underlies Scleroderma) (due to Triterpenoid Saponins). references

These Substances may be Implicated in Scleroderma

Immune System Chemicals

Immune Complexes (formed by the combination of Antigens with specific Antibodies) are strongly speculated to initiate the autoimmune reactions that are implicated in Scleroderma.

Proteins

Excessive, abnormal synthesis of Collagen is involved in the development of Scleroderma.

Other Factors that may Cause Scleroderma

Metabolism

Scleroderma is characterized by excessive Cross-Linking of the Connective Tissue’s endogenous Proteins (therefore therapies that reduce Cross-Linking may be useful for Scleroderma patients). References

Scleroderma may Cause these Ailments

Cardiovascular System

Raynaud’s Disease may occur as a symptom of Scleroderma.

Forms of Scleroderma

Localized Scleroderma is the milder form of Scleroderma. It most commonly affects the Skin (but can also affect the Muscles and Joints). Localized Scleroderma does not affect organs:
-Linear Scleroderma is characterized by a line of hardened Skin affecting the underlying Muscles and Bones. The regions of the body on which it most commonly occurs are the arms, legs and forehead. It usually occurs only on one side of the body. It is more prevalent in children.

-Morphea is characterized by patches of yellowish or ivory-colored rigid Dry Skin tha becomes hard, slightly depressed oval plaques. This form of Localized Scleroderma generally occurs on the trunk.

Systemic Scleroderma occurs throughout the body and can affect internal organs. It is progressive and can be life-threatening becaue of its detrimental effects on the connective tissues of the Lungs, Kidneys, Heart, Blood Vessels, Muscles and Joints.

References:

Pregnenolone and Scleroderma (Research)

Peer-Reviewed Professional Journals

McGavack, T. H., et al. The use of D 5-pregnenolone in various clinical disorders. J Clin Endocrinol. 11:559–77, 1951.

Carnosine and Scleroderma (Research)

Laypersons’ Publications

Dean, W. Scleroderma. Vitamin Research News. 15(1), 2001.

The author speculates that the anti-intracellular cross-linking properties of carnosine would be useful for scleroderma patients as scleroderma is characterized by excessive cross-linking.

Curcumin and Scleroderma (Research)

Peer-Reviewed Professional Journals

Tourkina, E., et al. Curcumin-induced apoptosis in scleroderma lung fibroblasts: role of protein kinase C. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2004.

Division of Rheumatology and Immunology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.

Scleroderma, a disease involving excessive collagen deposition, can be studied using fibroblasts cultured from affected tissues. Curcumin, the active component of the spice turmeric, causes apoptosis in scleroderma lung fibroblasts (SLF), but not in normal lung fibroblasts (NLF). This effect is likely to be linked to the fact that while curcumin induces the expression of the phase 2 detoxification enzymes heme oxygenase 1 and glutathione S-
transferase P1 (GST P1) in NLF, SLF are deficient in these enzymes, particularly after curcumin treatment. The sensitivity of cells to curcumin-induced apoptosis and the expression of GST P1 (but not heme oxygenase 1) are regulated by the epsilon isoform of protein kinase C (PKCepsilon). SLF, which contain less PKCepsilon and less GST P1 than NLF, become less sensitive to curcumin-induced apoptosis and express higher levels of GST P1 when transfected with wild type PKCepsilon, but not with dominant negative PKCepsilon. Conversely, NLF become sensitive to curcumin-induced apoptosis and express lower levels of GST P1 when PKCepsilon expression or function is inhibited. The subcellular distribution of PKCepsilon also differs in NLF and SLF. PKCepsilon is predominantly nuclear or perinuclear in NLF but is associated with stress fibers in SLF. Just as PKCepsilon levels are lower in SLF than in NLF in vitro, PKCepsilon expression is decreased in fibrotic lung tissue in vivo. A signaling pathway involving PKCepsilon and phase 2 detoxification enzymes provides protection against curcumin-induced apoptosis in NLF and is defective in SLF. These observations suggest that curcumin may have therapeutic value in treating scleroderma, just as it has already been shown to protect rats from lung fibrosis induced by a variety of agents.

MSM and Scleroderma (Research)

Dean, W. Scleroderma. Vitamin Research News. 15(1), 2001.

High-dose PABA can cause nausea in some persons.
•Sellnow, L. MSM and DMSO. Western Horseman. April 1996.

Experiments have been conducted using MSM on human scleroderma patients. It was found that MSM softened the skin of scleroderma patients and restored a significant amount of elasticity to the skin of scleroderma patients.

Vitamin E and Scleroderma (Research)

Murray, Michael T. The Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements: the essential guide for improving your health naturally. Prima Publishing, Rocklin, California, USA. 1996:48.

Vitamin E supplementation is commonly employed for the treatment of scleroderma.

 
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