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2.  Quantification of Atherosclerotic Plaque Activity and Vascular Inflammation using [18-F] Fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography (PET)/Computed Tomography (CT) 
Conventional non-invasive imaging modalities of atherosclerosis such as coronary artery calcium (CAC)1 and carotid intimal medial thickness (C-IMT)2 provide information about the burden of disease. However, despite multiple validation studies of CAC3–5, and C-IMT2,6, these modalities do not accurately assess plaque characteristics7,8, and the composition and inflammatory state of the plaque determine its stability and, therefore, the risk of clinical events9–13.
[18F]-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) imaging using positron-emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) has been extensively studied in oncologic metabolism14,15. Studies using animal models and immunohistochemistry in humans show that FDG-PET/CT is exquisitely sensitive for detecting macrophage activity16, an important source of cellular inflammation in vessel walls. More recently, we17,18 and others have shown that FDG-PET/CT enables highly precise, novel measurements of inflammatory activity of activity of atherosclerotic plaques in large and medium-sized arteries9,16,19,20. FDG-PET/CT studies have many advantages over other imaging modalities: 1) high contrast resolution; 2) quantification of plaque volume and metabolic activity allowing for multi-modal atherosclerotic plaque quantification; 3) dynamic, real-time, in vivo imaging; 4) minimal operator dependence. Finally, vascular inflammation detected by FDG-PET/CT has been shown to predict cardiovascular (CV) events independent of traditional risk factors21,22 and is also highly associated with overall burden of atherosclerosis23. Plaque activity by FDG-PET/CT is modulated by known beneficial CV interventions such as short term (12 week) statin therapy24 as well as longer term therapeutic lifestyle changes (16 months)25.
The current methodology for quantification of FDG uptake in atherosclerotic plaque involves measurement of the standardized uptake value (SUV) of an artery of interest and of the venous blood pool in order to calculate a target to background ratio (TBR), which is calculated by dividing the arterial SUV by the venous blood pool SUV. This method has shown to represent a stable, reproducible phenotype over time, has a high sensitivity for detection of vascular inflammation, and also has high inter-and intra-reader reliability26. Here we present our methodology for patient preparation, image acquisition, and quantification of atherosclerotic plaque activity and vascular inflammation using SUV, TBR, and a global parameter called the metabolic volumetric product (MVP). These approaches may be applied to assess vascular inflammation in various study samples of interest in a consistent fashion as we have shown in several prior publications9,20,27,28
PMCID: PMC3466935  PMID: 22588186
FDG-PET/CT; atherosclerosis; vascular inflammation; quantitative radiology
3.  Endothelial Cell‐, Platelet‐, and Monocyte/Macrophage‐Derived Microparticles are Elevated in Psoriasis Beyond Cardiometabolic Risk Factors 
Psoriasis, especially when severe, is a risk factor for cardiometabolic disease beyond traditional risk factors. The mechanism of atherogenesis in psoriasis remains unknown. Cell membrane vesicles (ie, microparticles), released upon cell activation or apoptosis, have recently been associated with cardiometabolic disease and may play a pathogenic role. Microparticle levels, particularly from endothelial cells and platelets, are elevated in patients with cardiovascular disorders, metabolic syndrome, other inflammatory diseases, autoimmune conditions, and have been shown to be predictive of cardiovascular outcomes.
Methods and Results
Concentrations of microparticles with positive expression for any of 7 cell surface markers (Annexin V, CD3, CD31, CD41a, CD64, CD105, and CD144) were measured in blood samples from psoriasis patients (n=53) and control subjects without psoriasis (n=41). Platelet‐free plasma was separated from whole blood by one‐step centrifugation for microparticle analysis. Microparticles were fluorescently labeled and characterized by flow cytometry. Higher concentrations of CD105 (5.5/μL versus 2.5/μL, P<0.001), CD31 (31/μL versus 18/μL, P=0.002), CD41a (50/μL versus 22/μL, P<0.001), and CD64 (5.0/μL versus 4.1/μL, P=0.02) singly positive microparticles corresponding to endothelial cell‐, platelet‐, and monocyte/macrophage‐derived microparticles, respectively, were found in psoriasis patients compared with controls. These differences persisted after adjustment for traditional cardiometabolic risk factors including body mass index.
Increased microparticle concentrations, independent of cardiometabolic risk factors, in patients with psoriasis suggest that the presence of increased endothelial cell, platelet, and monocyte/macrophage activation with cell turnover may contribute to the heightened atherogenesis associated with psoriasis.
PMCID: PMC3959700  PMID: 24584739
atherosclerosis; inflammation; microparticles endothelium; platelets; psoriasis; risk factor
4.  A comparison of vascular inflammation in psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and healthy subjects by FDG-PET/CT: a pilot study 
Objective: Psoriasis (PSO) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) increase cardiovascular diseases (CVD) beyond traditional risk factors. Vascular inflammation has previously been demonstrated to be present in PSO and RA using [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) imaging. However, vascular inflammation has not been compared in these two disorders relative to a healthy reference population. Thus, vascular inflammation was quantitatively assessed in patients with PSO (n=10), RA (n=5), and healthy subjects (n=10) using FDG-PET/CT. Methods: FDG-PET/CT mean standardized uptake value (SUVmean) was determined slice by slice within the ascending, aortic arch, descending thoracic, suprarenal abdominal, and infrarenal abdominal aorta, and the mean metabolic volumetric product (MVPmean) was then calculated for each aortic subsegment. Plasma lipids and metabolic and inflammatory markers were also assessed. Results: CVD risk profiles were largely similar across groups. After adjustment for CV risk factors, regional aortic vascular inflammation based on MVPmean was elevated for both PSO (beta coefficients 0.31-1.47, p<0.001) and RA (beta coefficients 0.15-0.69, p<0.05) compared to healthy subjects. Conclusions: These observations using FDG-PET/CT to estimate vascular inflammation support epidemiological findings of premature atherosclerosis in PSO and RA. The use of FDG-PET/CT to investigate vascular inflammation across systemic inflammatory diseases warrants further examination in larger study populations.
PMCID: PMC3819587  PMID: 24224139
Psoriasis; rheumatoid arthritis; atherosclerosis; vascular inflammation; FDG-PET/CT
6.  Abnormal Lipoprotein Particles and Cholesterol Efflux Capacity in Patients with Psoriasis 
Atherosclerosis  2012;224(1):218-221.
Psoriasis is a Th-1/17 mediated inflammatory disease associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Inflammation may modulate lipoprotein particle number and directly impair HDL functions, in particular reverse cholesterol transport (RCT). We sought to study how chronic in vivo inflammation modulates lipoprotein particle composition using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) and HDL efflux in psoriasis.
Methods and Results
We prospectively enrolled a consecutive sample of patients with psoriasis (n=122) and compared lipoprotein and metabolic risk factors to patients without psoriasis (n=134). Fasting lipids, insulin, glucose were measured by standard assays, and lipoprotein concentration and size were measured by NMR. In a random subset (n=100 each group), HDL efflux capacity was quantified using a validated ex vivo system involving the incubation of macrophages with apolipoprotein B-depleted serum from patients. Traditional lipid concentrations were similar in both groups except for HDL concentration which was lower in psoriasis (43 mg/dL (36–58) vs 50 (42–62), p<0.01). However, NMR showed an atherogenic profile in psoriasis similar to that observed in diabetes, with significant increase in LDL particle concentration [1210.5 (1002–1498) vs 1115 (935–1291), p=0.03] with decrease in LDL size [20.6 (20.3–21.1) vs 21.3 (20.6–21.1), p<0.001] beyond CV risk factors and HOMA-IR (p=0.001). Finally, HDL efflux capacity was lower in psoriasis compared to controls in fully adjusted models (beta −0.14, p=0.001).
These data support a more atherogenic lipoprotein profile by NMR and decreased HDL efflux capacity in psoriasis patients compared to controls beyond CVD risk factors. The abnormal lipoprotein particle composition and HDL efflux capacity in psoriasis may provide a link between psoriasis and CVD.
PMCID: PMC3693845  PMID: 22858285
inflammation; atherosclerosis; HDL efflux; cholesterol; lipoprotein particles
7.  Monocyte Mayhem: Do Subtypes Modulate Distinct Atherosclerosis Phenotypes? 
PMCID: PMC3670688  PMID: 22337925
editorial; monocytes; cardiovascular outcomes; inflammation
8.  A Genome-Wide Association Study in Europeans and South Asians Identifies Five New Loci for Coronary Artery Disease 
PMCID: PMC3190399  PMID: 21846871
genomics; genetics; coronary artery disease; genome wide association; meta-analysis
9.  Fluorescent Green Plaques: Light at the End of the Catheter? 
Cell metabolism  2011;14(1):7-8.
The field of vascular molecular imaging is searching for the `holy grail' of an imaging technique that will quantitatively and reliably assess vulnerable coronary plaques. Fluorescence imaging with indocyanine green specifically identifies lipid-rich plaques in rabbits and in human plaques and represents a promising, though invasive, approach.
PMCID: PMC3138117  PMID: 21723499
10.  Large-Scale Association Analysis Identifies 13 New Susceptibility Loci for Coronary Artery Disease 
PMCID: PMC3125595  PMID: 21673312
genomics; genetics; coronary artery disease; genome wide association; metaanalysis
11.  Usefulness of Insulin Resistance Estimation and the Metabolic Syndrome in Predicting Coronary Atherosclerosis in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus 
The American journal of cardiology  2011;107(3):406-411.
Metabolic syndrome (MS) definitions predict cardiovascular events beyond traditional risk factors in type 2 diabetic (DM) as well as non-diabetics subjects. We and other have shown that apolipoprotein B (apoB) and non-HDL cholesterol (non-HDL-C) are associated with coronary artery calcification (CAC) in DM. However, the relative value of MS, apoB lipoproteins and estimates of insulin resistance is unknown in predicting atherosclerosis in DM. We performed cross sectional analyses of white subjects in 2 community based studies (N= 611 type 2 diabetic subjects, N= 803 non-diabetic subjects) using multivariate analysis of traditional risk factors and then adding MS, apoB and homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Incremental value was tested with likelihood ratio testing. Beyond traditional risk, HOMA-IR [Tobit regression ratio 1.86 (p=0.002)], apoB [1.55 (p=0.001)] and MS [2.37 (p=0.007)] were independently associated with CAC. In nested models, HOMA-IR added value to apoB [1.72 (p=0.008)], MS [1.72 (p=0.011)] and both apoB and MS [1.64 (p=0.021)]. ApoB showed a similar pattern when added to HOMA-IR [1.51 (p=0.004)], MS [1.46 (p=0.005)] and both HOMA-IR and MS [1.48 (p=0.006)]. MS added to apoB [1.99 (p=0.032)], but not HOMA-IR [1.54 (p=0.221)] or both apoB and HOMA-IR [1.32 (p=0.434)]. In conclusion, insulin resistance estimates add value to MS and apoB in predicting CAC scores in DM and warrant further evaluation in clinic for identification of DM patients at higher risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3040419  PMID: 21257006
insulin resistance; apolipoprotein B; coronary artery calcification; type 2 diabetes
12.  CXCL12: A New Player in Coronary Disease Identified through Human Genetics 
Trends in cardiovascular medicine  2010;20(6):204-209.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in over 100,000 people have revealed novel loci associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) and myocardial infarction (MI) which present exciting opportunities to discover novel disease pathways. One such recently identified locus is on chromosome 10q11, near the gene for the chemokine CXCL12 which has been implicated in cardiovascular disease (CVD) in both mouse and human studies. These GWAS demonstrate that CXCL12 may emerge as a potential therapeutic target for atherosclerosis and thrombosis.
PMCID: PMC3235407  PMID: 22137643
CXCL12; atherosclerosis; GWAS; cardiovascular disease; inflammation
13.  Systemic and Vascular Inflammation in Patients with Moderate to Severe Psoriasis as measured by [18F]-Fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography (FDG-PET/CT): A Pilot Study 
Archives of dermatology  2011;147(9):1031-1039.
To evaluate the feasibility of utilizing [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET/CT) to detect and quantify systemic inflammation in psoriasis patients.
Case series with a nested case-control study.
Referral dermatology and preventive cardiology practices.
Six patients with psoriasis affecting >10% body surface area and 4 controls age and sex matched to 4 psoriasis patients for a nested case-control study.
Main Outcome Measures
FDG uptake in the liver, musculoskeletal structures, and aorta measured by mean Standardized Uptake Value (SUV), a measure of FDG tracer uptake by macrophages and other inflammatory cells.
FDG-PET/CT identified numerous foci of inflammation in 6 patients with psoriasis within the skin, liver, joints, tendons, and aorta. Inflammation in the joints was observed in a patient with psoriatic arthritis as well as in 1 patient with no history of joint disease or joint symptoms. In a nested case-control study, FDG-PET/CT imaging demonstrated increased vascular inflammation in multiple segments of the aorta compared to controls. These findings persisted after adjustment for traditional cardiovascular risk factors in multivariate analysis (mean beta 0.33, p<0.001). Patients with psoriasis further demonstrated increased hepatic inflammation after adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors (beta 0.18, p<0.001), but the association was no longer significant when adjusted for alcohol intake (beta −0.25, p=0.07).
FDG-PET/CT is a sensitive tool for identifying inflammation and can be used to identify clinically observed inflammation in the skin and subclinical inflammation in the blood vessels, joints, and liver of patients with psoriasis.
PMCID: PMC3158301  PMID: 21576552
14.  Attributable Risk Estimate of Severe Psoriasis on Major Cardiovascular Events 
The American journal of medicine  2011;124(8):775.e1-775.e6.
Recent studies suggest that psoriasis, particularly if severe, may be a risk factor for major adverse cardiac events such as myocardial infarction, stroke, and mortality from cardiovascular disease. We compared the risk of major adverse cardiac events between patients with psoriasis and the general population and estimated the attributable risk of severe psoriasis.
We performed a cohort study in the General Practice Research Database. Severe psoriasis was defined as receiving a psoriasis diagnosis and systemic therapy (N=3,603). Up to 4 patients without psoriasis were selected from the same practices and start dates for each patient with psoriasis (N=14,330).
Severe psoriasis was a risk factor for major adverse cardiac events (hazard ratio 1.53; 95% confidence interval 1.26, 1.85) after adjusting for age, gender, diabetes, hypertension, tobacco use and hyperlipidemia. After fully adjusted analysis, severe psoriasis conferred an additional 6.2% absolute risk of 10-year major adverse cardiac events.
Severe psoriasis confers an additional 6.2% absolute risk of 10-year rate of major adverse cardiac events compared to the general population. This potentially has important therapeutic implications for cardiovascular risk stratification and prevention in patients with severe psoriasis. Future prospective studies are needed to validate these findings.
PMCID: PMC3146037  PMID: 21787906
Psoriasis; major adverse cardiac events; inflammation; risk factors
15.  Differential Associations of Oral Glucose Tolerance Test–Derived Measures of Insulin Sensitivity and Pancreatic β-Cell Function With Coronary Artery Calcification and Microalbuminuria in Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2013;37(1):124-133.
We evaluated relationships of oral glucose tolerance testing (OGTT)–derived measures of insulin sensitivity and pancreatic β-cell function with indices of diabetes complications in a cross-sectional study of patients with type 2 diabetes who are free of overt cardiovascular or renal disease.
A subset of participants from the Penn Diabetes Heart Study (n = 672; mean age 59 ± 8 years; 67% male; 60% Caucasian) underwent a standard 2-h, 75-g OGTT. Insulin sensitivity was estimated using the Matsuda Insulin Sensitivity Index (ISI), and β-cell function was estimated using the Insulinogenic Index. Multivariable modeling was used to analyze associations between quartiles of each index with coronary artery calcification (CAC) and microalbuminuria.
The Insulinogenic Index and Matsuda ISI had distinct associations with cardiometabolic risk factors. The top quartile of the Matsuda ISI had a negative association with CAC that remained significant after adjusting for traditional cardiovascular risk factors (Tobit ratio −0.78 [95% CI −1.51 to −0.05]; P = 0.035), but the Insulinogenic Index was not associated with CAC. Conversely, the highest quartile of the Insulinogenic Index, but not the Matsuda ISI, was associated with lower odds of microalbuminuria (OR 0.52 [95% CI 0.30–0.91]; P = 0.022); however, this association was attenuated in models that included duration of diabetes.
Lower β-cell function is associated with microalbuminuria, a microvascular complication, while impaired insulin sensitivity is associated with higher CAC, a predictor of macrovascular complications. Despite these pathophysiological insights, the Matsuda ISI and Insulinogenic Index are unlikely to be translated into clinical use in type 2 diabetes beyond established clinical variables, such as obesity or duration of diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3867998  PMID: 23949560
16.  Single-cell transcriptomics: an emerging tool in the study of cardiometabolic disease 
PMCID: PMC4228185  PMID: 25377125
Transcriptomics; Single-cell; Next generation sequencing; Cardiometabolic diseases
17.  Psoriasis severity and the prevalence of major medical co-morbidities: a population-based study 
JAMA dermatology (Chicago, Ill.)  2013;149(10):1173-1179.
Despite the growing literature on co-morbidity risks in psoriasis, there remains a critical knowledge gap on the degree to which objectively measured psoriasis severity may affect the prevalence of major medical co-morbidities.
To examine the prevalence of major medical co-morbidities in patients with mild, moderate, and severe psoriasis, classified objectively based on body surface area involvement, compared to patients without psoriasis.
Population-based, cross-sectional study.
United Kingdom-based electronic medical records.
9,035 patients aged 25 to 64 years with psoriasis and 90,350 age- and practice-matched patients without psoriasis.
Psoriasis diagnosis and severity, based on body surface area involvement, as determined by provider-based questionnaires.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Prevalence of major co-morbidities comprising the Charlson co-morbidity index.
Among patients with psoriasis, 51.8%, 35.8%, and 12.4% respectively had mild, moderate, and severe disease. Mean Charlson co-morbidity index was increasingly higher in patients with mild (0.375 vs. 0.347), moderate (0.398 vs. 0.342), and severe psoriasis (0.450 vs. 0.348) compared to respective controls (each p < 0.05). Psoriasis overall was associated with higher prevalence of chronic pulmonary disease (adjusted odds ratio 1.08; 95% CI, 1.02–1.15), diabetes (1.22; 1.11–1.35), diabetes with systemic complications (1.34; 1.11–1.62), mild liver disease (1.41; 1.12–1.76), myocardial infarction (1.34; 1.07–1.69), peptic ulcer disease (1.27; 1.03–1.58), peripheral vascular disease (1.38; 1.07–1.77), renal disease (1.28; 1.11–1.48), and rheumatologic disease (2.04; 1.71–2.42). Trend analysis revealed significant associations between psoriasis severity and each of above co-morbidities (each p < 0.05).
Conclusions and Relevance
The burdens of overall medical co-morbidity and of specific co-morbid diseases are greater among psoriasis patients with increasing disease severity. Physicians should be aware of these associations in providing comprehensive care to patients with psoriasis, especially those presenting with more severe disease.
PMCID: PMC3800487  PMID: 23925466
18.  Characterization of immune cells in psoriatic adipose tissue 
Adipose tissue normally contains immune cells that regulate adipocyte function and contribute to metabolic disorders including obesity and diabetes mellitus. Psoriasis is associated with increased risk for metabolic disease, which may in part be due to adipose dysfunction, which has not been investigated in psoriasis. There is currently no standardized method for immunophenotyping human adipose tissue. In prior studies, characteristic phenotypic markers of immune cell populations identified in animal models or in other human tissues have been applied in a similar manner to human adipose tissue. Rarely have these populations been verified with confirmatory methodologies or functional studies. Thus, we performed a comprehensive phenotypic and functional analysis of immune cell populations in psoriatic adipose tissue.
Conventional and imaging flow cytometry were used to define immune cell populations in biopsy specimens of psoriatic adipose tissue (n = 30) including T cells, B cells, NK cells, NKT cells, neutrophils, and macrophages. Relationships between adipose immune cell types and body mass index were determined using Spearman regression analysis, and multivariate linear regression analysis was performed to adjust for cardiometabolic disease risk factors.
These analyses revealed a wide range of cell surface receptors on adipose tissue macrophages, which may serve a dual purpose in immunity and metabolism. Further, both CD16+CD56Lo and CD16-CD56Hi NK cells were found to correlate inversely with body mass index. The relationship between the predominant CD16+CD56Lo NK cell population and body mass index persisted after adjusting for age, sex, diabetes, and tobacco use.
Together, these studies enhance our understanding of adipose immune cell phenotype and function, and demonstrate that examination of adipose tissue may provide greater insight into cardiometabolic pathophysiology in psoriasis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12967-014-0258-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4197293  PMID: 25224267
Adipose tissue; Immunophenotyping; Imaging flow cytometry; Psoriasis
19.  Candidate Gene Association Study of Coronary Artery Calcification in Chronic Kidney Disease: Findings from the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort Study 
To identify loci for coronary artery calcification (CAC) in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).
CKD is associated with increased CAC and subsequent coronary heart disease (CHD) but the mechanisms remain poorly defined. Genetic studies of CAC in CKD may provide a useful strategy for identifying novel pathways in CHD.
We performed a candidate gene study (~2,100 genes; ~50,000 SNPs) of CAC within the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study (n=1,509; 57% European, 43% African ancestry). SNPs with preliminary evidence of association with CAC in CRIC were examined for association with CAC in PennCAC (n=2,560) and Amish Family Calcification Study (AFCS; n=784) samples. SNPs with suggestive replication were further analyzed for association with myocardial infarction (MI) in the Pakistan Risk of Myocardial Infarction study (PROMIS) (n=14,885).
Of 268 SNPs reaching P <5×10−4 for CAC in CRIC, 28 SNPs in 23 loci had nominal support (P <0.05 and in same direction) for CAC in PennCAC or AFCS. Besides chr9p21 and COL4A1, known loci for CHD, these included SNPs having reported GWAS association with hypertension (e.g., ATP2B1). In PROMIS, four of the 23 suggestive CAC loci (chr9p21, COL4A1, ATP2B1 and ABCA4) had significant associations with MI consistent with their direction of effect on CAC.
We identified several loci associated with CAC in CKD that also relate to MI in a general population sample. CKD imparts a high risk of CHD and may provide a useful setting for discovery of novel CHD genes and pathways.
PMCID: PMC3953823  PMID: 23727086
Coronary artery calcification (CAC); chronic kidney disease (CKD); Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort Study (CRIC); myocardial infarction (MI); risk factors; candidate genes; single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)
20.  Psoriatic arthritis and sacroiliitis are associated with increased vascular inflammation by 18-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography computed tomography: baseline report from the Psoriasis Atherosclerosis and Cardiometabolic Disease Initiative 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2014;16(4):R161.
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) increase cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, but surrogate markers for CVD in these disorders are inadequate. Because the presence of sacroiliitis may portend more severe PsA, we hypothesized that sacroiliitis defined by computed tomography (CT) would be associated with increased vascular inflammation defined by 18-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT), which is an established measure of CVD.
Participants (n = 65) underwent whole-body FDG-PET/CT. Metabolic activity of the aorta was measured using the maximal standardized uptake value (SUVmax), a measure of atherosclerotic plaque activity. The primary outcome was aortic vascular inflammation. Linear regression (with β-coefficients (β) and P-values reported for PsA and sacroiliitis) was used to adjust for CVD risk factors to determine associations of PsA or sacroiliitis with vascular inflammation. Likelihood ratio testing was performed to evaluate the contribution of sacroiliitis to vascular disease estimation compared to the effects of PsA and traditional CVD risk factors.
Vascular inflammation (measured as SUVmax) was greater (P < 0.001) in patients with sacroiliitis (mean ± SD = 7.33 ± 2.09) defined by CT compared to those without sacroiliitis (6.39 ± 1.49, P = 0.038). There were associations between PsA and aortic inflammation (β = 0.124, P < 0.001) and between sacroiliitis and aortic inflammation (β = 0.270, P < 0.001) after adjusting for CVD risk factors. Sacroiliitis predicted vascular inflammation beyond PsA and CVD risk factors (χ2 = 124.6, P < 0.001).
Sacroiliitis is associated with increased vascular inflammation detected by FDG-PET/CT, suggesting that sacroiliac joint disease may identify patients at greater risk for CVD. Large, ongoing prospective studies are required to confirm these findings.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/ar4676) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4261785  PMID: 25078679
21.  Prevalence and treatment patterns of psoriatic arthritis in the UK 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2012;52(3):568-575.
Objectives. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of PsA in The Health Improvement Network (THIN), a large population-based medical records database in the UK, to examine factors associated with prevalent PsA among patients with psoriasis and to describe the use of DMARDs in patients with PsA.
Methods. Two cohorts were derived from THIN to examine the prevalence of PsA in a cross-sectional study among all patients aged 18–90 years and among a subcohort of 4900 psoriasis patients aged 45–65 years. Prescription codes were used to describe therapies after the diagnosis of PsA. Associations for prevalent PsA among psoriasis patients were assessed using logistic regression analysis.
Results. Among 4.8 million patients in THIN between the ages of 18 and 90 years, 9045 patients had at least one medical code for PsA, giving an overall prevalence of 0.19% (95% CI 0.19%, 0.19%). Of those patients, 45.9% with PsA have been prescribed DMARDs. Among the 4064 confirmed psoriasis patients, the prevalence of PsA was 8.6% (95% CI 7.7%, 9.5%). PsA was more prevalent among patients with severe psoriasis [odds ratio (OR) 3.34; 95% CI 2.40, 4.65], obesity (OR 1.77; 95% CI 1.30, 2.41) and duration of psoriasis for ≥10 years (OR 7.42; 95% CI 3.86, 14.25) in the fully adjusted model.
Conclusion. The prevalence of PsA in THIN is consistent with previous population-based estimates. Limitations include a definition of PsA based on a diagnostic code rather than Classification Criteria for Psoriatic Arthritis (CASPAR) criteria. Given the large population of PsA patients, THIN is an important resource for the study of PsA.
PMCID: PMC3573270  PMID: 23221331
spondyloarthritis (including psoriatic arthritis); epidemiology; DMARDs; primary care rheumatology
22.  Modulation of cardiometabolic pathways in skin and serum from patients with psoriasis 
Moderate-to-severe psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD); however, the link is poorly understood.
Skin and serum from patients with psoriasis were evaluated to understand if there was evidence of dysregulation in a targeted group of inflammatory and lipid genes related to ASCVD. Microarray analyses of expression of targeted ASCVD genes from skin in 89 patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis from the ACCEPT trial were compared with non-diseased skin from healthy controls (n = 25). Serum (n = 149) was tested at baseline for monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC), and apolipoprotein-A1 (Apo-A1) comparing to healthy controls (n=162).
An increase in skin gene expression for MCP-1 (7.98-fold) and MDC (6.66-fold) (p < 0.001 each) was observed in lesional versus healthy skin. Significant decreases in liver X receptor-alpha (LXR-α) (−5.94-fold), a protective lipoprotein metabolism gene, and in peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPAR-α) (−7.58-fold), a protective anti-inflammatory and lipid modulating gene, were observed in lesional versus healthy skin (p < 0.001 each). Serum analyses revealed that MCP-1 (502 vs. 141 pg/mL) and MDC (1240 vs. 409 pg/mL) levels were significantly elevated in psoriasis compared with healthy controls (p < 0.001 each). Dysregulated lipid metabolism was also evident in the serum, as Apo-A1, a protein product related to PPAR-α activation, was significantly decreased in patients with psoriasis compared with healthy controls (25.2 vs. 38.9 mg/dL; p < 0.001).
Analyses of targeted genes and their products known to be associated with ASCVD revealed dysregulation of inflammatory (MCP-1 and MDC) and lipid metabolism (LXR-α, PPAR-α) genes in psoriasis. These findings provide evidence of a potential shared pathophysiology linking psoriasis to cardiometabolic diseases.
PMCID: PMC3765699  PMID: 23965158
Inflammation; Atherosclerosis; Lipid metabolism; Psoriasis
23.  Inflammation Modulates Human HDL Composition and Function in vivo 
Atherosclerosis  2012;222(2):390-394.
Inflammation may directly impair HDL functions, in particular reverse cholesterol transport (RCT), but limited data support this concept in humans.
Methods and Results
We employed low-dose human endotoxemia to assess the effects of inflammation on HDL and RCT-related parameters in vivo. Endotoxemia induced remodelling of HDL with depletion of pre-β1a HDL particles determined by 2-D gel electrophoresis (-32.2 ± 9.3% at 24h, p<0.05) as well as small (-23.0 ± 5.1%, p<0.01, at 24h) and medium (-57.6 ± 8.0% at 16h, p<0.001) HDL estimated by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). This was associated with induction of class II secretory phospholipase A2 (~36 fold increase) and suppression of lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase activity (-20.8 ± 3.4% at 24h, p<0.01) and cholesterol ester transfer protein mass (-22.2 ± 6.8% at 24h, p<0.001). The HDL fraction, isolated following endotoxemia, had reduced capacity to efflux cholesterol in vitro from SR-BI and ABCA1, but not ABCG1 transporter cell models.
These data support the concept that “atherogenic-HDL dysfunction” and impaired RCT occur in human inflammatory syndromes, largely independent of changes in plasma HDL-C and ApoA-I levels.
PMCID: PMC3361641  PMID: 22456230
inflammation; atherosclerosis; cholesterol; lipoproteins; macrophages
24.  Race and gender variation in response to evoked inflammation 
Race- and gender-variation in innate immunity may contribute to demographic differences in inflammatory and cardiometabolic disease; yet their influence on dynamic responses during inflammatory stress is poorly understood. Our objective was to examine race and gender influence on the response to experimental endotoxemia.
The Genetics of Evoked Responses to Niacin and Endotoxemia (GENE) study was designed to investigate regulation of inflammatory and metabolic responses during low-grade endotoxemia (LPS 1 ng/kg intravenously) in healthy individuals (median age 24, IQR=7) of European (EA; n=193, 47% female) and African ancestry (AA; n=101, 59% female).
Baseline clinical, metabolic, and inflammatory biomarkers by race and gender were consistent with epidemiological literature; pre-LPS cytokines (e.g. median (IQR) IL-6, 2.7 (2) vs.2.1 (2) pg/ml, P=0.001) were higher in AA than EA. In contrast, acute cytokine responses during endotoxemia were lower in AA than EA (e.g. median (IQR) peak IL-1RA, 30 (38) vs.43 (45) ng/ml P=0.002) as was the induction of hepatic acute-phase proteins (e.g. median (IQR) peak CRP 12.9 (9) vs.17.4 (12) mg/L P=0.005). Further, baseline levels of cytokines were only weakly correlated with peak inflammatory responses (all rs <0.2) both in AA and in EA. There were less pronounced and less consistent differences in the response by gender, with males having a higher AUC for CRP response compared to females (median (IQR) AUC: 185 (112) vs. 155 (118), P=0.02).
We observed lower levels of evoked inflammation in response to endotoxin in AA compared with EA, despite similar or higher baseline levels of inflammatory markers in AA. Our data also suggest that levels of inflammatory biomarkers measured in epidemiological settings might not predict the degree of acute stress-response or risk of diseases characterized by activation of innate immunity.
Trial registration
FDA registration number NCT00953667
PMCID: PMC3636014  PMID: 23497455
25.  Translational studies of lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 in inflammation and atherosclerosis 
To examine the role of lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2/PLA2G7) in human inflammation and coronary atherosclerosis.
Lp-PLA2 has emerged as a potential therapeutic target in coronary heart disease (CHD). Data supporting Lp-PLA2 are indirect and confounded by species differences; whether Lp-PLA2 is causal in CHD remains in question.
We examined inflammatory regulation of Lp-PLA2 during experimental endotoxemia in human, probed the source of Lp-PLA2 in human leukocytes under inflammatory conditions, and assessed the relationship of variation in PLA2G7, the gene encoding Lp-PLA2, with coronary artery calcification (CAC).
In contrast to circulating TNFα and CRP, blood and monocyte Lp-PLA2 mRNA decreased transiently, and plasma Lp-PLA2 mass declined modestly during endotoxemia. In vitro, Lp-PLA2 expression increased dramatically during human monocyte to macrophage differentiation and further in inflammatory macrophages and foam like-cells. Despite only a marginal association of SNPs in PLA2G7 with Lp-PLA2 activity or mass, numerous PLA2G7 SNPs were associated with CAC. In contrast, several SNPs in CRP were significantly associated with plasma CRP levels but had no relation with CAC.
Circulating Lp-PLA2 did not increase during acute phase response in human, while inflammatory macrophages and foam cells, but not circulating monocytes, are major leukocyte sources of Lp-PLA2. Common genetic variation in PLA2G7 is associated with sub-clinical coronary atherosclerosis. These data link Lp-PLA2 to atherosclerosis in human while highlighting the challenge in using circulating Lp-PLA2 as a biomarker of Lp-PLA2 actions in the vasculature.
PMCID: PMC3285416  PMID: 22340269

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