Effects of biologics on vascular function and Atherosclerosis associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis

György Kerekes, Pál Soltész, Henriett Dér, Katalin Veres, Zoltán Szabó, Anikó Végvári, Yehuda Shoenfeld, Zoltán Szekanecz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Endothelial dysfunction and accelerated atherosclerosis lead to increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Sustained inflammation is a major risk factor. Apart from traditional vasculoprotective agents, biologics may also exert favorable effects on the vasculature. Indeed, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) inhibitors agents may transiently improve endothelial function. There are conflicting data regarding the effects of biologics on atherosclerosis and arterial stiffness. Infliximab stimulates the number and differentiation of endothelial progenitor cells that lead to vascular repair. There may be differences in the effects of TNF blockers on dyslipidemia, as long-term infliximab therapy may be proatherogenic, while some studies suggest that etanercept and adalimumab may exert beneficial effects on lipids. TNF blockers may decrease the incidence of cardiovascular events in RA. Preliminary data suggest that rituximab may also improve endothelial function and dyslipidemia. Further studies are needed to determine the net effects of biologics on the vasculature.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Challenges in Autoimmunity
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781573317627
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632


  • Arterial stiffness
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Carotid intima-media thickness
  • Endothelial dysfunction
  • Flow-mediated vasodilatation
  • Lipid profile
  • Rheumatoid arthritis


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