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Jan Nilsson


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Pathogenic immunity in systemic lupus erythematous and atherosclerosis: common mechanisms and possible targets for intervention.


  • Maria Wigren
  • Jan Nilsson
  • Mariana J Kaplan

Summary, in English

Systemic lupus erythematous (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder that primarily affects young women and is characterized by inflammation in several organs including the kidneys, skin, joints, blood, and nervous system. Abnormal immune cellular and humoral responses play important roles in the development of the disease process. Impaired clearance of apoptotic material is a key factor contributing to activation of self-reactive immune cells. The incidence of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) is increased up to 50-fold in SLE patients compared to age- and gender-matched control subjects and this can only partly be explained by traditional risk factors for CVD. Currently, there is no effective treatment to prevent CVD complications in SLE. Traditional preventive CVD therapies have not been found to significantly lower the incidence of CVD in SLE; therefore, there is a need for novel treatment strategies and increased understanding of the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of CVD complications in SLE. The pathogenic immune responses in SLE and development of atherosclerotic plaques share some characteristics, such as impaired efferocytosis and skewed T cell activation, suggesting the possibility of identifying novel targets for intervention. As novel immune-based therapies for CVD are being developed, it is possible that some of these may be effective for the prevention of CVD and for immunomodulation in SLE. However, further understanding of the mechanisms leading to an increased prevalence of cardiovascular events in SLE is critical for the development of such therapies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


  • Cardiovascular Research - Immunity and Atherosclerosis
  • EXODIAB: Excellence of Diabetes Research in Sweden
  • EpiHealth: Epidemiology for Health

Publishing year







Journal of Internal Medicine





Document type

Journal article review




  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems



Research group

  • Cardiovascular Research - Immunity and Atherosclerosis


  • ISSN: 1365-2796