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The interplay of inflammation and cardiovascular disease in systemic lupus erythematosus

J Michelle Kahlenberg and Mariana J Kaplan*

Author affiliations

Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, 1150 W. Medical Center Drive, 5520 MSRBI, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5680, USA

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Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2011, 13:203  doi:10.1186/ar3264

Published: 28 February 2011


Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus have up to a 50-fold increased risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Recent advances in the etiology of vascular damage in this disease stress the interplay of lupus-specific inflammatory factors with traditional cardiac risk factors, leading to increased endothelial damage. This review analyzes the putative role that immune dysregulation and lupus-specific factors may play in the pathogenesis of premature vascular damage in this disease. The potential role of various cytokines, in particular type I interferons, in the development of accelerated atherosclerosis is examined. Potential therapeutic targets are discussed.