Published online Jul 18, 2014. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v5.i3.304
Revised: February 26, 2014
Accepted: April 17, 2014
Published online: July 18, 2014
Life expectancy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is reduced compared to the general population owing to an increase in cardiovascular diseases (CVD) not fully explained by traditional cardiovascular risk factors. In recent years, interest has been focused on the alterations in lipid metabolism in relation to chronic inflammation as one of the possible mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis of RA patients. Research regarding this issue has revealed quantitative alterations in lipoproteins during the acute-phase reaction, and has also demonstrated structural alterations in these lipoproteins which affect their functional abilities. Although many alterations in lipid metabolism have been described in this regard, these structural changes associated with inflammation are particularly important in high-density lipoproteins as they affect their cardioprotective functions. In this respect, excessive oxidation in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and increased lipoprotein(a) with a predominance of smaller apolipoprotein(a) isoforms has also been reported. This article will discuss proinflammatory high-density lipoproteins (piHDL), oxidized LDL and lipoprotein(a). Elevated concentrations of these lipoproteins with marked pro-atherogenic properties have been observed in RA patients, which could help to explain the increased cardiovascular risk of these patients.
Core tip: Inflammation plays a major role in the process of accelerated atheromatosis in rheumatoid arthritis patients by modifying the structural and functional properties of lipoproteins.