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Serum interleukin 23 and its associations with interstitial lung disease and clinical manifestations of scleroderma



Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a complex disease linked to immune system activation, vascular damage, associated with increased synthesis, and deposition of extracellular matrix, which contain excessive amounts of structurally normal collagen. Interleukin 23 (IL-23) might play a role in disease development and severity. This study aimed to assess the relationship between serum level of IL-23 and interstitial lung disease in SSc.

Patients and methods

Thirty patients with SSc together with 30 age-matched and sex-matched healthy volunteers were recruited in this study. Serum IL-23 levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Functionally, lung involvement was assessed by pulmonary function tests and radiologically by chest radiography and high-resolution computed tomography of the lungs.


Mean serum IL-23 level was significantly highly elevated in SSc patients compared with healthy controls (P<0.005). Patients with elevated IL-23 levels exhibited shorter disease duration (P<0.05). Moreover, mean serum IL-23 level was elevated in diffuse SSc cases compared with limited SSc cases and in cases with pulmonary fibrosis (P<0.05), although they were not associated with other clinical features. Elevated mean serum IL-23 level was significantly higher in mild restrictive cases compared with moderate and severe restrictive cases. As regards highresolution computed tomography, mean serum IL-23 level was statistically highly significantly elevated in cases with ground-glass appearance (P<0.001) compared with others.


Alterations in serum concentrations of IL-23 support the hypothesis that IL-23 is associated with induction of SSc generally and SSc associated with interstitial lung disease specifically. Presumably, blockage of IL-23 could be used as a potential therapeutic target in early SSc.


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Correspondence to Tahany M. A. Gouda.

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Hammad, G.A., Eltanawy, R.M., Fawzy, R.M. et al. Serum interleukin 23 and its associations with interstitial lung disease and clinical manifestations of scleroderma. Egypt J Bronchol 12, 69–75 (2018).

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Key words

  • high-resolution computed tomography
  • interstitial lung disease
  • pulmonary function tests
  • systemic sclerosis