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Lupus. 2012 Jan;21(1):27-35. doi: 10.1177/0961203311422096. Epub 2011 Oct 12.

Pioglitazone improves the cardiovascular profile in patients with uncomplicated systemic lupus erythematosus: a double-blind randomized clinical trial.

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  • 1Endocrinology Department, National Institute of Cardiology "Ignacio Chávez", Mexico.



We studied the effect of pioglitazone on insulin levels, inflammation markers, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) composition and subclasses distribution, in young women with uncomplicated systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).


This double-blind trial included 30 premenopausal women (30 ±8 years old) with SLE, who were randomized to pioglitazone (30 mg/day) or placebo treatment for 3 months. Plasma and HDL lipids were determined by colorimetric enzymatic assays, insulin by radioimmunometric assay, inflammation by immunonephelometry and HDL size and subclasses distribution by a native 4-30% polyacrylamide gradient gel electrophoresis.


Compared with placebo, pioglitazone significantly increased HDL-cholesterol plasma levels (14.2%), reduced fasting insulin plasma levels (23.6%) and the homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance (31.7%). C-reactive protein (70.9%) and serum amyloid A (34.9%) were also significantly reduced with the pioglitazone use, whereas the HDL particle size was increased (8.80 nm vs. 8.95 nm; p = 0.044) by changes in the distribution of HDL(2b), HDL(3b), and HDL(3c) subclasses. The change in HDL size correlated with a rise in free and cholesterol-ester content in the HDL particles.


Pioglitazone significantly enhanced insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, and modified HDL characteristics, suggesting a potential beneficial effect of this drug in patients with SLE with a risk to develop cardiovascular disease.


This trial is registered at Protocol Registration System, with the number NCT01322308.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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