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Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2011 May-Jun;29(3):575-81. Epub 2011 Jun 30.

Early determinants of atherosclerosis in paediatric systemic lupus erythematosus.

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  • 1Divisions of Rheumatology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada.



To assess traditional and non-traditional cardiovascular risk factors and to determine the prevalence and correlates of early vascular markers of atherosclerosis in paediatric systemic lupus erythematosus (pSLE).


Fifty-four adolescents with pSLE had cardiovascular risk factor assessment, disease activity and vascular testing including carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), arterial stiffness measures, and myocardial perfusion studies.


The traditional risk factors of hypertension, elevated triglycerides, apolipoprotein B, haemoglobin A1c and insulin levels and non-traditional risk factors of elevated homocysteine and fibrinogen were present (all p<0.001). Some arterial stiffness measures, central pulse wave velocity and characteristic impedance were elevated (p<0.001), but CIMT, FMD and myocardial perfusion were normal. Cumulative prednisone dose correlated with total cholesterol (r=0.5790, p<0.001) and elevated LDL-C (r=0.4488, p=0.0012). Hydroxychloroquine treatment correlated negatively with total cholesterol (r=-0.4867, p=0.0002), LDL-C (r=-0.4805, p=0.0002) and apolipoprotein B (r=-0.4443, p=0.0011). In multivariate analysis LDL-C correlated with cumulative prednisone dose and negatively with hydroxychloroquine treatment (R2=0.40, p<0.001).


An increased burden of traditional and non-traditional risk factors and early evidence of insulin resistance and increased central arterial stiffness were present in paediatric SLE. Disease-specific and therapy-related factors are likely modifying these cardiovascular risk profiles warranting prospective longitudinal studies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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