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Int J Rheumatol. 2012;2012:480784. doi: 10.1155/2012/480784. Epub 2012 Dec 5.

A Systematic Literature Review of the Association of Lipoprotein(a) and Autoimmune Diseases and Atherosclerosis.

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Department of Lipid Disorder, Charité University Medical Department in Berlin, Berlin, Germany.



To investigate the association of lipoprotein(a) and atherosclerosis-related autoimmune diseases, to provide information on possible pathophysiologic mechanisms, and to give recommendations for Lp(a) determination and therapeutic options.


We performed a systematic review of English language citations referring to the keywords "Lp(a)" AND "autoimmune disease" AND "atherosclerosis," "Lp(a)" AND "immune system" OR "antiphospholipid (Hughes) syndrome (APS)" OR "rheumatoid arthritis" OR "Sjögren's syndrome" OR "systemic lupus erythematosus" OR "systemic sclerosis" OR "systemic vasculitis" published between 1991 and 2011 using Medline database.


22 out of 65 found articles were identified as relevant. Lp(a) association was highest in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), followed by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), moderate in APS and lowest in systemic sclerosis (SSc). There was no association found between Lp(a) and systemic vasculitis or Sjögren's syndrome.


Immune reactions are highly relevant in the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis, and patients with specific autoimmune diseases are at high risk for CVD. Elevated Lp(a) is an important risk factor for premature atherosclerosis and high Lp(a) levels are also associated with autoimmune diseases. Anti-Lp(a)-antibodies might be a possible explanation. Therapeutic approaches thus far include niacin, Lp(a)-apheresis, farnesoid x-receptor-agonists, and CETP-inhibitors being currently under investigation.

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