Sclerostin as a biomarker of cardiovascular risk in women with systemic lupus erythematosus

Sci Rep. 2022 Dec 14;12(1):21621. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-25651-y.


Cardiovascular disease is one of the main causes of death in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). On the other hand, sclerostin is a reliable and early biomarker of vascular calcification. This study aimed to estimate the association between sclerostin and two markers of cardiovascular risk, carotid atherosclerotic plaque (CP) and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV), in women with SLE. The presence of CP (determined by carotid artery ultrasound) and PWV were measured in 68 women with SLE and preserved renal function. None of the participants had a history of cardiovascular disease. Serum levels of sclerostin were determined using the ELISA method. Other factors associated with increased cardiovascular risk were also measured. The association between sclerostin, CP and PWV was assessed using Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves and multivariate regression models. The area under the ROC curve was 0.785 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.662-0.871) for CP and 0.834 (95% CI 0.729-0.916) for dichotomized PWV. After adjusting for other cardiovascular risk factors, it was found that a 10-units increase in sclerostin values was associated with a 44% increase in the odds of CP (95% CI 1-105), but no adjusted association was observed between sclerostin and PWV. Predictive models included age (for both outcomes), hypertension, Framingham risk score and C-reactive protein (for PWV), but not sclerostin. Sclerostin is associated with the presence of CP in women with SLE. Further research should confirm its possible role as a biomarker of cardiovascular risk in these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / complications
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers