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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2009 Dec;48(12):1553-6. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kep288. Epub 2009 Sep 24.

Autoimmunity and atherosclerosis: the presence of antinuclear antibodies is associated with decreased carotid elasticity in young women. The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Rheumatology, Tampere UniversityHospital, Tampere, Finland.



There is ample evidence demonstrating that accelerated atherosclerosis prevails in autoimmune rheumatic diseases, particularly in SLE, and that the risk is due not only to traditional cardiovascular risk factors but also to the disease itself. ANAs are a hallmark of SLE and are known even to antedate the development of SLE. Our aim was to investigate whether positive ANAs in young adults are associated with risk factors for atherosclerosis or subclinical markers of atherosclerosis.


ANAs were examined by IIF using HEp-2 cells as substrate in 2278 participants in the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study for whom detailed data on cardiovascular risk factors and markers of subclinical atherosclerosis (including brachial flow-mediated dilatation, carotid compliance and carotid intima-media thickness) were available.


In multivariate analyses, adjusted for age, BMI, serum concentrations of CRP, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking habits, ANA positivity (titre > 160) was inversely associated (beta = -0.145; P = 0.034) with carotid compliance in women.


Our results indicate that ANA positivity is associated with decreased carotid elasticity in women, suggesting that mechanisms resulting in ANA production may be involved in the development of early atherosclerosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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