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Autoimmun Rev. 2007 Nov;7(1):52-8. Epub 2007 Jul 24.

OxLDL/beta2GPI-anti-oxLDL/beta2GPI complex and atherosclerosis in SLE patients.

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  • 1Division of Rheumatology, University of Padova, Via Giustiniani 2, 35128 Padova, Italy.


It has been demonstrated that atherosclerosis (ATS) is enhanced in autoimmune rheumatic diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The reason for this accelerated process is still debatable and, although traditional risk factors are more prevalent in SLE patients than in general population, they do not seem to fully explain the enhanced risk. ATS has the characteristics of an autoimmune chronic disease, involving both the innate and the adaptive immunity. Moreover, it satisfies the four criteria defining an autoimmune disease, proposed by Witebsky and Rose. It has been shown that some autoantibodies, including anti-oxLDL, anti-beta(2)GPI, anti-HSP60/65, and more recently anti-oxLDL/beta(2)GPI, play a key role in the pathogenesis of ATS. However the role of these autoantibodies in accelerated ATS in SLE patients is still controversial. In fact, some of them seem to be proatherogenic and other protective; moreover, it has been demonstrated that induced oral tolerance has a protective role against ATS. We have recently observed that the levels of oxLDL/beta(2)GPI antigenic complexes and their antibodies were higher in patients with SLE than in healthy subjects, but we did not find a clear association between oxLDL/beta(2)GPI complexes and IgG or IgM anti-oxLDL/beta(2)GPI autoantibodies and subclinical ATS in SLE patients. Many other studies are required to explain the role of autoantibodies in the pathogenesis of ATS in SLE patients, because the characteristics of SLE seem to mask their effects for atherogenesis.

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