Author(s): Lima DS, Sato EI, Lima VC, Miranda F Jr, Hatta FH
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To verify if endothelial function is impaired in pre-menopausal women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and whether endothelial dysfunction is related to disease duration, cumulative prednisone dose, antimalarial use, anticardiolipin antibody (aCL), hypertension, Raynaud's phenomenon, disease activity score, and vasculitis. METHODS: Using high-resolution ultrasound, we measured the diameter of brachial artery at rest, during reactive hyperemia, and after glyceryl trinitrate (GTN). We compared 69 pre-menopausal female patients with SLE (mean age 29 +/- 8 years) with 35 age and sex-matched controls (mean age 29 +/- 6 years), The mean disease duration was 72 months. RESULTS: There was no significant difference in baseline brachial artery diameter. The flow-mediated dilation (endothelial dependent dilation) was significantly impaired in SLE patients when compared to controls (5.0 +/- 5.0\% vs 12.0 +/- 6.0\%, p < 0.001), even in the subgroup of patients without coronary artery disease risk factor (4.5 +/- 4.0\% vs 12.0 +/- 6.0\%, p < 0.001). The GTN induced dilation (endothelial independent dilation) was significantly lower in the aCL positive SLE patients when compared to the controls (11.9 +/- 4.0\% vs 16.3 +/- 6.0\%, p < 0.05). The endothelium-dependent dilation was not related to disease duration, cumulative prednisone dose, antimalarial use, anticardiolipin antibody, hypertension history, Raynaud's phenomenon, SLE disease activity score or vasculitis. CONCLUSION: This is the first study using brachial artery ultrasound imaging to evaluate endothelium function in SLE. Patients with SLE presented lower flow mediated dilation (endothelium dependent dilation) than sex and age-matched controls, even in patients without traditional cardiovascular risk factors and this may represent an early atherosclerotic process.
This article was published in J Rheumatol
and referenced in Rheumatology: Current Research