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Clin Sci (Lond). 2005 Aug;109(2):171-6.

Cardiovascular risk parameters in men with ankylosing spondylitis in comparison with non-inflammatory control subjects: relevance of systemic inflammation.

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Centre for Rheumatic Diseases, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Scotland, UK.


Men with AS (ankylosing spondylitis) are at elevated risk for CHD (coronary heart disease) but information on risk factors is sparse. We compared a range of conventional and novel risk factors in men with AS in comparison with healthy controls and, in particular, determined the influence of systemic inflammation. Twenty-seven men with confirmed AS and 19 controls matched for age were recruited. None of the men was taking lipid-lowering therapy. Risk factors inclusive of plasma lipids, IL-6 (interleukin-6), CRP (C-reactive protein), vWF (von Willebrand factor), fibrin D-dimer, ICAM-1 (intercellular cell-adhesion molecule-1) and fibrinogen were measured, and blood pressure and BMI (body mass index) were determined by standard techniques. A high proportion (70%) of men with AS were smokers compared with 37% of controls (P = 0.024). The AS patients also had a higher BMI. In analyses adjusted for BMI and smoking, men with AS had significantly higher IL-6 and CRP (approx. 9- and 6-fold elevated respectively; P < 0.001), fibrinogen (P = 0.013) and vWF (P = 0.008). Total cholesterol and HDL-C (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) were lower (P < 0.05 and P = 0.073 respectively) in AS and thus the ratio was not different. Pulse pressure was also significantly higher in AS (P = 0.007). Notably, adjustment for IL-6 and CRP levels rendered all case-control risk factor differences, except pulse pressure, non-significant. In accordance with this finding, IL-6 correlated positively (r = 0.74, P < 0.001) with fibrinogen, but negatively (r = -0.46, P = 0.016) with total cholesterol concentration. In conclusion, men with AS have perturbances in several CHD risk factors, which appear to be driven principally by systemic inflammatory mediators. Inflammation-driven atherogenesis potentially contributes to the excess CHD risk in AS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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