Functional and structural vascular lesions have been observed in the organs involved in scleroderma. The etiology of these vascular changes is poorly understood. The ability to isolate, characterize, and maintain endothelial cells in vitro provides a target cell population to study endothelial damage in scleroderma. The present report describes the effect of scleroderma serum on endothelial, smooth muscle, and fibroblast cell types. Sera from patients with scleroderma (31/52) and Raynaud's syndrome (11/19) contain cytotoxic activity, specific for endothelial cells, which is nondialyzable, heat-stable, and elutes with albumin on gel-filtration chromatography.

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