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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2011 Mar;31(3):705-12. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.110.214585. Epub 2011 Jan 6.

Carotid intima-media thickness in psoriatic arthritis: differences between tumor necrosis factor-α blockers and traditional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Regional Reference Centre for Coagulation Disorders, Federico II University, Via S Pansini 5, 80131, Naples, Italy.



Subjects with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) have an abnormally high prevalence of vascular risk factors (VRFs) and are predisposed to vascular mortality. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, a major determinant of inflammation, is involved in atherosclerosis. Ultrasonographic carotid intima-media thickness (C-IMT) evaluation allows for subclinical atherosclerosis detection.


Two hundred twenty-four PsA patients (120 on TNF-α blockers and 104 on traditional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs [DMARDs]) underwent a C-IMT ultrasound assessment. As many as 305 matched subjects without any inflammatory/rheumatologic disease served as controls. The C-IMT of PsA subjects without VRFs was higher (P<0.0001) than that of controls, the C-IMT of PsA subjects with ≥1 VRF(s) was lower (P<0.0001) than that of controls, and the C-IMT was lower (P<0.0001) in those on TNF-α blockers than in those on DMARDs. Carotid plaques were detected in 15.8% of those on TNF-α blockers and in 40.4% of those on DMARDs (P<0.0001). Treatment duration inversely (β=-0.317, P<0.0001) predicted C-IMT in PsA subjects on TNF-α blockers but not in those on DMARDs (P=0.313).


Among PsA individuals, the C-IMT is higher in subjects on DMARDs than in those on TNF-α blockers. The reduction of inflammation may hamper the cascade that causes the raised vascular risk in PsA patients.

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