Leading the way to a cure


Biomarkers of Atherosclerosis in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Hoofnagle, Andrew, MD, PhD

University of Washington

Heart disease has become one of the most common causes of death in people with lupus. Yet we still do not understand why relatively young people with lupus are more likely to develop atherosclerosis than other people their age. One reason may be a problem with their high density lipoproteins (HDL), often known as the “good” cholesterol because high concentrations protect against heart disease.

However, there is some evidence that the HDL in people  with lupus may inappropriately activate the immune system, harming rather than protecting blood vessels. The link may  be related to higher concentrations of certain HDL proteins.  Dr. Hoofnagle and his team will identify HDL proteins in people with lupus and measure differences in protein  concentrations between those with the disease and those  without. They will also explore whether HDL from people with lupus removes cholesterol as effectively as HDL from those without lupus. 

What this study means for people with lupus: Any differences found between the HDL in those with  and without lupus may help identify new targets for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of heart disease in people with lupus.

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