2nd Conference on heart, rheumatism and autoimmunity, Pescara, Italy, May 19-20, 2005

Andrea Doria, Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini, Yehuda Shoenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Systemic autoimmune diseases, which comprise a family of conditions which share common pathogenetic mechanisms, are frequently associated to cardiac involvement and to a high prevalence of ischemic coronary events often occurring at a younger age than in normal population. A large increase in mortality is related to premature atherosclerosis with coronary artery disease and stroke in patients with connective tissue diseases. Coronary heart disease is responsible for 40-50% of the death of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Moreover, a growing body of evidence supports the view that autoimmune mechanisms are involved in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. Inflammatory heart disease is a rising concern worldwide. Similar mechanisms link autoimmune diseases, including the association of increased disease with proinflammatory cytokines and the importance of regulatory mechanisms in the control of chronic inflammation. The role of the immune system in modulating atherosclerosis has recently been well documented. Studies have revealed that cellular and humoral immunity plays crucial roles in atherogenic plaque formation. This includes macrophages, CD4+ T cells and dendritic cells as well as autoantigens such as oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL), heat shock proteins and β2-glycoprotein I. The inflammatory component is not localized to the "culprit" plaque, but it is diffused to the entire coronary vascular bed, and involves also the myocardium. The aim of the conference (2nd conference on heart, rheumatism and autoimmunity) was to focus the attention of the participants on some pathogenetic, clinical and therapeutic aspects at the boundary between cardiology and rheumatology and to encourage the debate among clinicians and basic researchers with different backgrounds and experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-63
Number of pages9
JournalAutoimmunity Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


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