Precocious atherosclerosis in rheumatoid arthritis: role of traditional and disease-related cardiovascular risk factors

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Jun:1108:372-81. doi: 10.1196/annals.1422.038.


The risk of cardiovascular (CV) disease increases in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This is due to a number of different triggers including traditional and disease-related factors. Among established risk factors for CV disease, smoking may exert a more dangerous effect on arterial wall in RA than in the general population by a synergic effect with inflammatory processes of the disease. Although persistent inflammation and immune dysregulation of RA may contribute to favor other well-known CV risk factors, such as dyslipidemia, it is now clear that the disease itself represents an independent risk factor for CV disease by the action of RA chronic inflammatory process as well as humoral and cell-mediated immune mechanisms. There is evidence that CV risk is associated with severity and extension of the disease and it is of interest the fact that the presence of circulating anticyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies appears to be associated with stronger evidence of subclinical atherosclerosis in RA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Atherosclerosis / complications*
  • Atherosclerosis / immunology*
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / immunology
  • Carotid Arteries / pathology
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors


  • Autoantibodies