Pupillocynetic activity of substance P in systemic sclerosis

Angela Del Rosso, Luca Bertinotti, Umberto Pietrini, Andrea Messori, Marcello Fanciullacci, Roberto Casale, Roberto Giacomelli, Sergio Generini, Riccardo Sicuteri, Alberto Pignone, Franco Cozzi, Marco Matucci-Cerinic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. In systemic sclerosis (SSc), dysfunctions of peripheral nervous system (PNS) have been observed. Substance P (SP) instillation in human eye induces a cholinergic-independent pupil myosis. Pupil basal diameters (PBD) and pupil responsiveness to SP, expressed as area under the curve (AUC), were studied by pupillometry to assess SP-ergic fiber state and function in SSc. Methods. Forty SSc patients [24 with limited (1SSc), 16 with diffuse (dSSc) disease] and 40 controls underwent pupillometric evaluation. After evaluation of PBD, SP 10-3 M was instilled in one eye and placebo in the contralateral eye. Antinuclear (ANA), anticentromere (ACA), and anti-Scl-70 autoantibodies were correlated with PBD and AUC. Results. PBD was significantly lower in SSc patients versus controls (p <0.001). PBD was minor in 1SSc versus both dSSc and controls (p <0.05), but no difference was found between dSSc and controls. In SSc, SP 10-3 M induced greater myosis compared to controls (p <0.001). SP 10-3 M-induced myosis was higher in 1SSc versus both dSSc and controls (p <0.05). ACA significantly correlated with decreased values of PBD and AUC (p <0.001). Conclusion. Our results show that PBD is reduced in patients with SSc and that SP induces a more intense myosis in SSc than controls. Moreover, in 1SSc PBD is lower and SP increases the myosis in 1SSc compared to dSSc and controls. This suggests a peculiar dysfunction of PNS in patients with the limited subset of SSc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1231-1237
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Peripheral Nervous System
  • Pupillometry
  • Substance P
  • Systemic Sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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