Background & aims: We investigated the effect of Infliximab, an anti TNF-alpha antibody, on plasma lipids and lipoproteins in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
Methods: Five male and 10 female patients with a mean age of 56.7 years were included in this study. Seven of the patients were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and 8 patients with psoriatic arthritis. All patients received infusions of 3 mg/kg Infliximab (at week 0, 2 and 6). Lipids, lipoproteins and standard clinical parameters were assessed at baseline (0 week), after 2 weeks, and in 4 patients after 6 weeks.
Results: There was a significant increase in triglyceride levels during treatment with Infliximab (112 +/- 48 versus 133 +/- 53 mg/dl, p < 0.01). In contrast, HDL-cholesterol levels were significantly lowered (56 +/- 12 versus 50 +/- 13 mg/dl, p < 0.006) by the treatment. There was no significant difference in total cholesterol (209 +/- 25 versus 205 +/- 36 mg/dl) or in LDL-cholesterol (131 +/- 24 versus 118 +/- 43 mg/dl) before and after treatment. Similarly, lipoprotein(a) levels did not alter during treatment (median: 1.1 versus 1.4 mg/dl).
Conclusion: This study shows that intravenous Inflixmab therapy leads to changes in plasma lipid and lipoprotein levels in patients with rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis and may result in a more atherogenic lipid and lipoprotein profile. Although larger patient numbers need to be studied to confirm our findings, these results suggest that lipid levels should be checked and monitored in patients receiving infliximab therapy, particularly in patients with vascular disease.