Increased carotid artery intima-media thickness and impaired endothelial function in psoriasis

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2009 Jan;23(1):1-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2008.02936.x. Epub 2008 Aug 13.


Background: Psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis. This study compared subclinical atherosclerosis of the carotid and brachial arteries in psoriasis vulgaris patients and healthy controls using high-resolution ultrasonography.

Methods: We studied 43 psoriasis patients and 43 healthy controls matched for age and sex. Flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) and nitroglycerin-induced dilatation (NTD) of the brachial artery and intima-media thickness (IMT) of the common carotid arteries (CCA) were measured ultrasonographically. Diabetes mellitus, hypertension, renal failure, a history of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease were exclusion criteria. Subjects who were receiving lipid-lowering therapy, antihypertensive or anti-aggregant drugs, nitrates or long-term systemic steroids were also excluded.

Results: The mean IMT values of the right, left and averaged CCA of the psoriasis patients were significantly higher, compared with the controls (0.607+/-0.144 mm vs. 0.532+/-0.101 mm, 0.611+/-0.157 mm vs. 0.521+/-0.117 mm, and 0.609+/-0.146 mm vs. 0.526+/-0.104 mm; P=0.006, P=0.003 and P=0.003, respectively). The mean FMD and NTD values of the psoriasis patients were significantly lower, compared with the controls (13.36+/-6.39 mm vs. 19.60+/-11.23 mm and 21.08+/-8.38 mm vs. 26.85+/-12.38 mm; P=0.002 and P=0.013, respectively). Multiple linear regression analysis revealed a significant association between psoriasis and the IMT, FMD and NTD. Moreover, the FMD in psoriasis patients was associated with disease duration.

Conclusion: Psoriasis patients had impaired endothelial function and thicker IMT of the CCA, compared with the healthy control subjects. The presence of psoriasis was an independent risk factor for subclinical atherosclerosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology*
  • Carotid Arteries / pathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoriasis / pathology*
  • Tunica Intima / pathology*
  • Ultrasonography