Carotid atherosclerosis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A preliminary case-control study

G. Rodriguez, A. Sulli, M. Cutolo, P. Vitali, F. Nobili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A preliminary study was undertaken to investigate the severity of atherosclerotic lesions of neck arteries in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in comparison with matched controls. The working hypothesis derives from the recent view that the atherosclerotic plaque is essentially an inflammatory lesion, Thus, patients affected by a chronic inflammatory disease, such as RA, might show acceleration of atherosclerosis despite treatment with antiinflammatory drugs. In 19 patients with RA the prevalence of atherosclerosis of internal carotid arteries, as seen on high-resolution duplex-scanning of neck arteries, was significantly (p <0.05) higher than in 19 controls, whereas no significant difference was found for the other arteries. Factors underlying this finding are not known; increased levels of homocysteine and other thiol compounds that may enhance atherosclerosis in RA patients deserve further investigation. Moreover, more specific factors of RA are currently being investigated. In fact, immune complexes fixing C1q bind to endothelial receptors, thus triggering an upregulation of adhesion molecules, such as E-selectin and intercellular and vascular cell adhesion molecules 1, on the endothelium surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-482
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Carotid atherosclerosis
  • Intima-media thickness
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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