Interferon regulatory factor 5 gene variants rs2004640 and rs4728142 are associated with carotid intima media thickness but not with cardiovascular events in rheumatoid arthritis

Rabia Agca, Alper M. van Sijl, Saskia Vosslamber, Alexandre E. Voskuyl, Cor L. Verweij, Michael T. Nurmohamed

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Objective: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with cardiovascular (CV) morbidity and mortality. Interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) gene polymorphisms rs2004640 and rs4728142 have been associated with autoimmune diseases, but also with atherosclerosis. Differences in IRF5 gene expression can lead to the production of different interferons and might play a role in the atherogenic process in RA. Methods: We investigated the effects of IRF5 gene variants rs2004640 and rs4728142 on clinical parameters related to atherosclerosis, such as cIMT (in subgroup n=101), and new CV events (in whole cohort n=353). Results: For rs2004640, cIMT values at baseline were highest within the group of patients carrying the GG-genotype, followed by GT- and TT- genotypes, which was statistically significant. Over time patients with the TT-genotype had the highest increase in cIMT. For rs4728142 cIMT values were also the highest for patients with the GG-genotype at baseline, but the difference between the groups was not statistically significant. Over time the highest increase in cIMT was in the patients with the AA-genotype. Both rs2004640 and rs4728142 were not associated with new CV events during follow-up. Conclusion: IRF5 alleles are associated with changes in cIMT, but not with new CV events in RA. Although these findings implicate a role of the IRF5 transcription pathway in atherosclerosis, IRF5 single nucleotide polymorphisms do not appear to increase the risk of future CV events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-68
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and experimental rheumatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Interferon regulatory factor 5
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Single nucleotide polymorphisms

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