Objective: To estimate the alterations of paraoxonase 1 (PON1) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Design and methods: We investigated the serum enzyme activity and concentration of PON1 and their relationship with serum lipids, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) parameters, and acute phase reactants of serum amyloid A (SAA) and C-reactive protein (CRP) in patients with RA.
Results: Serum paraoxonase (PON) activity was significantly decreased in RA patients (n = 64, 131 +/- 53 micro mol/min/L) compared with healthy subjects (n = 155, 164 +/- 59) despite the absence of any difference in serum lipid levels between the two groups. This decrease of serum PON activity in RA patients was found in every genotype (Q/Q, Q/R, R/R) of PON1 at 192 Q/R. There was a different distribution in PON1 Q/R genotypes between RA patients and healthy subjects, and RA patients exhibited less (44%) positive PON1-Q than did the healthy subjects (66%). In a further investigation of age- and gender-matched subgroups of RA (n = 25) and healthy subjects (n = 25), not only serum PON activity, but also lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) was found to be significantly decreased in RA patients (125 +/- 61 micro mol/min/L, 63.2 +/- 17.2 nmol/ml/hr/37 degrees C) than in healthy subjects (169 +/- 67, 74.7 +/- 19.5), respectively. PON1 and LCAT as well as HDL constituent apolipoprotein (apo) AI and apo AII, were altered significantly in RA patients.
Conclusions: Acute-phase HDL, which is remodeled structurally and functionally in RA, might be less anti-atherogenic due to the impairment of original HDL function. These alterations of HDL in RA patients may explain in part the reported increase in cardiovascular mortality in patients with RA.