BACKGROUND: Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with an unexplained increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Antibodies against human 60 kDa heat shock protein (anti-HSP60) are associated with the presence and severity of CVD.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether anti-HSP60 antibodies are associated with prevalent CVD in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
METHODS: In a nested case-control design, anti-HSP60 antibody levels were measured in the serum samples of 192 rheumatoid patients. In a regression analysis the association between prevalent CVD and anti-HSP60 antibodies was examined, along with the possible influence on this association of several demographic, rheumatoid arthritis, and CVD related variables.
RESULTS: In a random sample of 326 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, 48 cases were identified who also suffered from CVD. Three controls per case with rheumatoid arthritis but without CVD (n = 144) were matched for sex, age, disease duration, and smoking habits. A regression analysis showed no significant association between prevalent CVD and anti-HSP60 antibodies (odds ratio = 1.00 (95% confidence interval, 0.997 to 1.004)). After correcting for possible confounding variables, still no association was found.
CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to the general population, anti-HSP60 antibody titres are not associated with prevalent CVD in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. These findings could be the result of an altered immune response to HSP60 in rheumatoid arthritis.
- Arthritis, Rheumatoid/complications
- Cardiovascular Diseases/etiology
- Case-Control Studies
- Chaperonin 60/immunology
- Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods
- Middle Aged
- Regression Analysis
- Risk Factors