Alexithymia and immunoendocrine parameters in patients affected by systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis

  • M. Vadacca |
  • R. Bruni
  • F. Caccipaglia
  • F. Serino
  • L. Arcarese
  • F. Buzzulini
  • G. Coppolino
  • A. Rigon
  • N. Terminio
  • A. Afeltra


Objective: Aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of alexithymia in patients affected by SLE or RA and to investigate the correlation between alexithymia and immunoendocrine parameters (PRL, hGH, IL-6 and TNF-alfa). Methods: Twenty-five patients (12 and 13 affected by SLE and RA, respectively) were enrolled into the study. The Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20 (TAS-20) was administered. PRL, hGH, IL-6 and TNF-alfa levels were measured by commercially available ELISA kits. Results: Alexithymia prevalence (TAS-20≥51) was 54% in RA and 42% in SLE patients. hGH serum levels were 3.1±4.2 and 1.1±0.9 IU/ml in SLE and RA, respectively. PRL concentration was 18.4±6.5 ng/ml and 14.2±4.0 ng/ml in SLE and RA patients, respectively (p=0.03). In RA group, TNF-alpha was 20±36.2 whereas in SLE it was 4.9±12.8 pg/ml (p=0.03); IL-6 serum concentrations were 24.4±25.1 and 2.9±5.4 pg/ml, in RA and SLE respectively (p=0.004). The serum level of hGH showed slight increase in alexithymic group (A) compared to non alexithymic group (NA) in both SLE and RA patients. PRL serum levels in SLE-A patients was 26.7±17.3 ng/ml while in SLE-NA patients was 12.4±3.3 ng/ml (p=0.04). In RA patients increased values of IL-6 and TNF-alpha were present in the A group compared to NA group (IL-6: 35.3±28 pg/mL vs 3.5±3.9 pg/mL, p=0.01; TNF-alpha: 34.7±39 pg/mL vs 3.1±3.4 pg/mL, p=0.01). Conclusions: In this preliminary results we found an high prevalence of alexithymia and a correlation between immunoendocrine parameters and alexhytimic features in SLE and RA, suggesting that an immunomodulatory pathway could influence this cognitive style in patients with autoimmune disorders. Other studies should contribute to find a common biological pathway linking alexithymia and autoimmunity.



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How to Cite
Vadacca, M., Bruni, R., Caccipaglia, F., Serino, F., Arcarese, L., Buzzulini, F., Coppolino, G., Rigon, A., Terminio, N., & Afeltra, A. (1). Alexithymia and immunoendocrine parameters in patients affected by systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. Reumatismo, 60(1), 50-56.

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