Sustained improvement of vascular endothelial function during anti-TNFalpha treatment in rheumatoid arthritis patients

P I Sidiropoulos, P Siakka, K Pagonidis, A Raptopoulou, H Kritikos, D Tsetis, D T Boumpas
Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology 2009, 38 (1): 6-10

OBJECTIVES: Vascular endothelial function and common carotid artery intima-medial thickness (CCA-IMT) are well-established surrogate markers for early atherosclerotic disease, which accounts for 30-40% of excess mortality in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Our aim was to investigate whether long-term treatment with anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF)alpha agents can modulate endothelial function and CCA-IMT.

METHODS: Twelve patients with RA (mean age 54.8+/-15 years) on anti-TNFalpha treatment (seven adalimumab, five infliximab) due to uncontrolled disease activity, with mean Disease Activity Score (DAS28) 5.7 (range 4.6-6.9) despite disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), were studied prospectively. Patients were assessed at baseline and after 3 and 18 months for endothelial-dependent vasodilatation, assessed by flow-mediated vasodilatation (FMD), endothelial-independent vasodilatation and CCA-IMT. RA disease activity and response to therapy were assessed by the DAS28 index.

RESULTS: After 18 months of treatment, 67% of the patients were responders according to European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response criteria. Anti-TNFalpha treatment improved FMD (from 7+/-4.3% to 11.1+/-3.8%, p = 0.026) whereas CCA-IMT did not change significantly [from 0.67 (0.4-1) to 0.68 (0.39-1.2) mm; mean change 0.01 (-0.06 to 0.08) mm]. Endothelial-independent vasodilatation remained stable (20.4+/-7.3% to 22.9+/-6.5%, p = 0.4).

CONCLUSIONS: In this small cohort of patients with RA and no clinically overt cardiovascular disease (CVD), after 18 months of treatment with anti-TNFalpha agents, endothelial function improved significantly while CCA-IMT remained stable. Longitudinal studies using more patients are needed to determine the clinical significance of these findings in relation to the risk of atherosclerosis.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"