Cardiovascular involvement in autoimmune diseases
Autoimmune diseases (AD) represent a broad spectrum of chronic conditions that may afflict specific target organs or multiple systems with a significant burden on quality of life. These conditions have common mechanisms including genetic and epigenetics factors, gender disparity, environmental triggers, pathophysiological abnormalities, and certain subphenotypes. Atherosclerosis (AT) was once considered to be a degenerative disease that was an inevitable consequence of aging. However, research in the last three decades has shown that AT is not degenerative or inevitable. It is an autoimmune-inflammatory disease associated with infectious and inflammatory factors characterized by lipoprotein metabolism alteration that leads to immune system activation with the consequent proliferation of smooth muscle cells, narrowing arteries, and atheroma formation. Both humoral and cellular immune mechanisms have been proposed to participate in the onset and progression of AT. Several risk factors, known as classic risk factors, have been described. Interestingly, the excessive cardiovascular events observed in patients with ADs are not fully explained by these factors. Several novel risk factors contribute to the development of premature vascular damage. In this review, we discuss our current understanding of how traditional and nontraditional risk factors contribute to pathogenesis of CVD in AD. © 2014 Jenny Amaya-Amaya et al.
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