It has been recently hypothesized that both TNFalpha and anti TNFalpha treatment have a stimulating effect on nitric oxide synthesis and release. Moreover, an in vitro experiment has demonstrated that HDL-cholesterol binds TNFalpha. Aims of our study were to investigate wall shear stress of peripheral arteries and endothelial function of brachial artery in subjects with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) at baseline and after infliximab. Moreover, we evaluated the effect of anti TNFalpha therapy on lipid profile. Ten patients with RA received infliximab therapy at weeks 0, 2 and 6. Lipids and vascular parameters were measured before and the day after each infusion. After the first treatment, FMD increased (3.7 +/- 1.9% versus 17.5 +/- 2.9%, P <0.01) and common carotid and brachial artery diameters decreased (5.9 +/- 0.2 mm versus 5.5 +/- 0.2 mm; 3.5 +/- 0.4 mm versus 3.1 +/- 0.4 mm, respectively, P <0.005). Common carotid and brachial artery wall shear stress increased (21.1 +/- 1.1 dynes/cm2 versus 23.9 +/- 1.4 dynes/cm2; 42.0 +/- 4.7 dynes/cm2 versus 51.6 +/- 5.7 dynes/cm2, P <0.01). Similar results were observed after the second and third infusion. All these parameters returned to pre-treatment level at the following infusion. HDL-cholesterol and apolipoprotein AI significantly decreased after each treatment (1st treatment: 1.4 +/- 0.05 mmol/L versus 1.2 +/- 0.06 mmol/L, P <0.01; 1.73 +/- 0.05 g/L versus 1.57 +/- 0.02 g/L, P <0.03). The present data show vasoconstriction and an increase of wall shear stress in studied arteries after infliximab. HDL cholesterol is reduced by treatment and does not seem to influence FMD.