Anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy increases serum adiponectin levels with the improvement of endothelial dysfunction in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Mod Rheumatol. 2007;17(5):385-90. doi: 10.1007/s10165-007-0605-8. Epub 2007 Oct 19.


Lower adiponectin levels in circulation are shown to be associated with endothelial dysfunction, which is a crucial feature in the evolution of atherosclerosis. The aim of our study is to evaluate the effect of anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy on adiponectin levels with endothelial function and arterial stiffness. Fifteen Japanese patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) received infusions with infliximab (3 mg/kg) at weeks 0, 2, and 6. Serum concentrations of adiponectin, endothelial function, and pulse wave velocity (PWV) were measured before each infusion. Endothelium-dependent vasodilatation and endothelium-independent vasodilatation were evaluated as forearm blood flow response to reactive and nitroglycerin-induced hyperemia using strain-gauge plethysmography. Endothelium-dependent vasodilatation was significantly improved at 2 weeks and 6 weeks by treatment with infliximab. PWV remained unchanged. Anti-TNF therapy significantly increased serum adiponectin levels at 2 weeks and 6 weeks. The adiponectin levels were positively correlated with the endothelium-dependent vasodilatation, and negatively with the disease activity score of 28 joints. Our study shows a short-term efficacy of infliximab on adiponectin levels and endothelial dysfunction of patients with RA, and provides additional evidence to support the regulatory role of TNF-alpha on the expression of adiponectin in vivo.

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood*
  • Adiponectin / metabolism
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / therapy*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infliximab
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitroglycerin / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Adiponectin
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Infliximab
  • Nitroglycerin