Objective: Increased cardiovascular risk has been associated with high levels of serum antibodies to citrullinated proteins (ACPA) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Citrullination is part of many chronic inflammatory processes and we therefore investigated whether ACPA might be associated with coronary artery disease, in the absence of RA.
Methods: To maximize the potential predictive value of this retrospective study we included sera from a cohort of 3052 healthy male individuals, subsequently followed for the development of coronary artery disease, and documented for other disease risk factors. With each case event (myocardial infarction; n = 144), 2 matched controls were assigned.
Results: We found 10.4% of cases were ACPA positive compared to 3.8% of controls (odds ratio (95% CI) = 3.26 (1.36-7.80), p = 0.008), remaining significant after adjustment for classical risk factors including smoking and CRP (4.23 (1.22-14.61) p = 0.02).
Conclusion: The genesis and fine specificity of ACPA in patients with atherosclerosis, in the absence of Rheumatoid arthritis, may prove worthy of further investigation.
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