Previous studies have suggested that oxidative stress may heighten atherosclerotic burden in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but direct evidence is lacking. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the relationship between established plasma oxidative stress biomarkers and peripheral endothelial dysfunction (ED), a marker of early atherosclerosis, in RA. METHODS: Paroxonase-1 (PON-1), protein-SH (PSH), and malondialdehyde (MDA) were measured in 164 RA patient s and 100 age- and sex-matched healthy controls without previous cardiovascular events. Peripheral ED, evaluated by flow-mediated pulse amplitude tonometry, was defined by log-transformed reactive hyperemia index (Ln-RHI) values < 0.51. RESULTS: PON-1 activity and PSH concentrations were significantly reduced in RA patients compared to controls. In regression analysis, increased plasma MDA levels were significantly associated with reduced Ln-RHI [B coefficient (95% CI) = -0.003 (-0.005 to -0.0008), p = 0.008] and the presence of peripheral ED (OR (95% CI) = 1.75 (1.06-2.88), p = 0.028). Contrary to our expectations, increased PON-1 activity was significantly associated, albeit weakly, with the presence of ED (OR (95% CI) = 1.00 (1.00-1.01), p = 0.017). CONCLUSIONS: In this first evidence of a link between oxidative stress and markers of atherosclerosis, MDA and PON-1 showed opposite associations with peripheral vasodilatory capacity and the presence of ED in RA. Further studies are needed to determine whether this association predicts atherosclerotic events in the RA population.
- rheumatoid arthritis
- oxidative stress
- endothelial dysfunction
- flow-mediated pulse amplitude tonometry
- cardiovascular disease