Cardiovascular disease in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: impact of classic and disease-specific risk factors

Giulio Cavalli, Ennio Giulio Favalli


Chronic inflammation is central to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and metabolic syndrome, and promotes both formation and rupture of atherosclerotic plaques, which account for ischemic complications of cardiovascular disease (CVD) (1,2). Pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines including interleukin-1 (IL-1) as well as adhesion molecules intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM) and vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM), which are highly expressed in atherosclerotic lesions and on layering endothelial cells, promote leukocyte recruitment, impair vasodilation, and induce oxidative stress and pro-coagulant mediators (3-5).