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Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2011 Mar;7(2):227-41. doi: 10.1586/eci.10.98.

Systemic lupus erythematosus and cardiovascular disease: prediction and potential for therapeutic intervention.

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  • 1Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA. mmcmahon@mednet.ucla.edu


Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus have a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular events due to atherosclerosis. Traditional cardiac risk factors cannot fully explain this increased risk. Recent evidence strongly suggests that atherosclerotic plaque is largely driven by inflammation and an active immunological response, in contrast to the long-held belief that plaque is a passive accumulation of lipids in the arterial wall. Current approaches to the prevention of atherosclerosis in systemic lupus erythematosus involve targeting modifiable cardiac risk factors. Future preventive strategies may include therapies that counteract the immunologic responses that lead to plaque formation.

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