Suppression of inflammation in primary systemic vasculitis restores vascular endothelial function: lessons for atherosclerotic disease?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • J Thambyrajah
  • A R Exley
  • C Hortas
  • D M Carruthers


BACKGROUND: Chronic inflammatory rheumatic disorders are associated with excess cardiovascular mortality. This may result from arteriosclerosis following inflammatory damage to the vessel wall by vasculitis. Our hypothesis that vasculitis results in arteriosclerosis by causing vascular endothelial dysfunction was tested in patients with primary systemic necrotizing vasculitis (SNV).

METHODS AND RESULTS: Endothelial function was assessed in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of patients with primary SNV by measuring flow-mediated, endothelium-dependent brachial artery vasodilatation. These patients exhibited marked endothelial dysfunction compared with controls. Remission induction in patients with active primary SNV restored endothelial function.

CONCLUSIONS: Endothelial function is significantly impaired in adults with primary SNV, supporting the hypothesis that premature arteriosclerosis in chronic inflammatory rheumatic disorders results from endothelial dysfunction secondary to vasculitis. Normalization of endothelial function after the treatment of primary SNV suggests that early suppression of disease activity in chronic inflammatory rheumatic disorders may reduce long-term vascular damage. The role of inflammation in atheroma formation is increasingly appreciated; this work raises questions regarding the potential for anti-inflammatory therapy in atherosclerosis itself.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1470-1472
Number of pages3
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2000


  • Brachial Artery, Churg-Strauss Syndrome, Endothelium, Vascular, Female, Humans, Inflammation, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Vasculitis