Impaired serum cholesterol efflux capacity in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus

Nicoletta Ronda, Elda Favari, Maria Orietta Borghi, Francesca Ingegnoli, Maria Gerosa, Cecilia Chighizola, Francesca Zimetti, Maria Pia Adorni, Franco Bernini, Pier Luigi Meroni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives The marked cardiovascular risk in autoimmune diseases is only partly explained. The capacity of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) to promote cell cholesterol efflux is a property with a well-known anti-atherogenic significance, but is also involved in functional modulation of endothelial and immune cells. The aim of this work was to evaluate HDL functionality with respect to cell cholesterol efflux in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythemathosus (SLE) patients. Methods We evaluated serum cholesterol efflux capacity (CEC) of apoB-depleted serum, which mainly reflects HDL activity, from 30 RA and 30 SLE patients, and from 30 healthy controls by radioisotopic ex-vivo systems discriminating between the specific pathways of cholesterol efflux. Results RA patients presented impairment of ATPbinding cassette G1-mediated CEC that correlated with disease activity. SLE patients showed a more complex pattern of modifications unrelated to disease activity, with marked reduction of ATP-binding cassette G1-mediated CEC and impairment of ATP-binding cassette A1-mediated CEC. The relationship between specific pathways of CEC values and serum total HDL differed between groups and there was no relationship with autoantibody profile or current therapy. Conclusions CEC is impaired in RA and SLE, with a specific mechanism pattern in each disease not depending on serum HDL levels. These findings provide a new mechanism for the increased atherosclerotic risk in RA and SLE patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-614
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Allergy


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