Background: Psoriasis is associated with premature atherosclerosis although the underlying mechanism remains unclear.
Objectives: We sought to investigate the relationship between disease activity and systemic inflammation in patients with psoriasis, and macrovascular and microvascular function.
Methods: Fifty-two patients with psoriasis (mean ± SD age 44 ± 8 years; 38 men) were compared with 50 age- and sex-matched controls. Baseline demographics and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) level were recorded for each subject. Psoriatic disease activity was assessed using the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI). Arterial stiffness and endothelial function were assessed using brachial to ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) and digital hyperaemic response measured using the peripheral arterial tonometry (PAT) index.
Results: Patients with psoriasis had significantly higher hs-CRP (mean ± SD 5·3 ± 5·1 vs. 1·9 ± 1·6 mg L(-1), P < 0·01) and baPWV (mean ± SD 14·5 ± 2·5 vs. 13·2 ± 1·6 m s(-1) , P < 0·01) but not PAT index (mean ± SD 2·06 ± 0·59 vs. 2·10 ± 0·44, P = 0·70) than controls. There was significant correlation of hs-CRP with baPWV (r = 0·51, P < 0·01) and with PASI (r = 0·48, P < 0·01). Multiple linear regression analysis demonstrated that baPWV is independently correlated with age, fasting glucose and hs-CRP (P < 0·05), but does not predict PAT index. Each mg L(-1) increase in hs-CRP accounted for an increase in baPWV of +0·12 m s(-1) (95% confidence interval 0·01-0·22, P = 0·03).
Conclusions: Young patients with psoriasis have increased arterial stiffness but not microvascular dysfunction compared with healthy controls. More importantly, hs-CRP positively correlated with, and independently predicted, arterial stiffness. This suggests that systemic inflammation in patients with psoriasis is associated with premature atherosclerosis.
© 2011 The Authors. BJD © 2011 British Association of Dermatologists.