Prediction of subclinical atherosclerosis by serum osteoprotegerin in premenopausal women with systemic lupus erythematous: correlation of osteoprotegerin with monocyte chemotactic protein-1

Y-J Park, Y-J Shin, W-U Kim, C-S Cho
Lupus 2014, 23 (3): 236-44

OBJECTIVE: Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Previous studies disclosed the association of serum osteoprotegerin (OPG) with the presence of symptomatic atherosclerosis in the general population and several disease conditions. We thus investigated the association between serum OPG levels and subclinical atherosclerosis in premenopausal SLE patients.

METHODS: Serum OPG levels and carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) were measured in 181 premenopausal SLE patients and age-matched 85 control subjects. Traditional cardiovascular risk factors and SLE-related factors were analyzed.

RESULTS: Patients with SLE had significantly increased serum OPG levels (1086 versus 517 pg/ml, p < 0.001) and carotid IMT (0.63 versus 0.45 mm, p < 0.001) compared with control subjects. Carotid IMT significantly increased across the quartiles of OPG. Logistic regression analysis revealed that compared to the lowest OPG quartile, the odds ratio (OR, 95% confidence interval) for increased carotid IMT in quartile 2, 3, and 4 was 1.126 (1.013-1.801), 1.562 (1.268-2.799), and 4.460 (1.126-7.128), respectively, after multiple adjustments (p for trend across quartiles < 0.001). These associations remained significant after further adjustment for inflammatory parameters. Interestingly, serum monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) levels were positively correlated with serum OPG levels (γ = 0.332, p < 0.001). Parallel analysis showed that serum MCP-1 was also an independent predictor of carotid IMT incrassation, but this association was lost when serum OPG was included in the model.

CONCLUSION: Serum OPG levels were increased and correlated with serum MCP-1 levels in premenopausal SLE patients. Increased serum OPG was independently associated with subclinical atherosclerosis in these patients.

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