Comparison of inflammation, arterial stiffness and traditional cardiovascular risk factors between rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease

Fenling Fan, Abby Galvin, Lu Fang, David Andrew White, Xiao Lei Moore, Miles Sparrow, Flavia Cicuttini, Anthony Michael Dart

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Inflammation plays an important role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. The link between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality is well established; however, the association between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and cardiovascular risk is controversial. Arterial stiffness is both a marker and risk factor for atherosclerosis. Here we aimed to 1) compare circulating markers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, traditional cardiovascular risk factors, and arterial stiffness between RA and IBD to help to understand their different associations with cardiovascular disease; 2) assess the impacts of circulating markers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, and traditional risk factors on arterial stiffness. Methods: Patients with RA (n = 43) and IBD (n = 42), and control subjects (n = 73) were recruited. Plasma inflammatory markers and von Willebrand factor (vWF) were measured by Multiplex assays or ELISA. Arterial stiffness was determined by brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) and ankle-brachial index (ABI) was measured. Framingham Risk Score (FRS) was calculated, and other traditional risk factors were also documented. Results: Plasma levels of several inflammatory markers and vWF were significantly but comparably elevated in RA and IBD compared with controls, except for a higher level of C-reactive protein (CRP) in RA than IBD. Compared to controls, FRS, body mass index, waist circumference, and triglycerides were increased in RA, but not in IBD. baPWV did not significantly differ among 3 groups, while ABI was modestly but significantly lower in IBD than controls. Circulating markers (macrophage migration inhibitory factor, tumour necrosis factor-á, CRP, and vWF) were significantly associated with baPWV. However, traditional risk factors (age, systolic blood pressure, body mass index, diabetes and triglycerides) were the parameters associated with baPWV in multiple regression analyses (overall r = 0.866, p < 0.001). Conclusions: RA has a higher level of CRP and more pronounced traditional cardiovascular risk factors than IBD, which may contribute to the difference in their associations with cardiovascular disease and mortality. Traditional risk factors, rather than inflammation markers, are major predictors of arterial stiffness even in subjects with inflammatory disorders. Our results point to the importance of modifying traditional risk factors in patients with inflammatory disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Inflammation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2014


  • Arterial stiffness
  • Inflammation
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Pulse wave velocity
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

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