Gastrointestinal dysmotility in Systemic Scleroderma

Systemic scleroderma is an auto-immune connective tissue disorder that causes fibrosis and inflammation in multiple organs including the skin, gastro-intestinal tract, lungs, heart and kidneys.

Involvement of the gastrointestinal tract is the third leading cause of disease morbidity. The denervation, fibrosis and atrophy of the gut causes reflux, abdominal distention and constipation. Given that serotonin is a major gut neurotransmitter, its agonists have been effective in relieving symptoms, however their long-term use is prohibited because of serious cardiovascular risks.

Systemic scleroderma has a prevalence of about 25 per 100,000 individuals in Europe and North America with an estimated annual incidence of 2 per 100,000. The disease occurs in all age groups and geographies but is three to four times more common in women than in men, with women of childbearing age at peak risk. There are approximately 130,000 patients with Systemic Scleroderma in the U.S. and Europe, repectively and 30,000 in Japan; 80-90% of them experience symptoms of gastrointestinal disease with the upper gastrointestinal tract being most affected. As longevity improves the duration and impact of gastrointestinal dysmotility symptoms has been increasing.


of patients experience symptoms of gastrointestinal disease