Impact of obesity on autoimmune arthritis and its cardiovascular complications

Katrien Van Raemdonck, Sadiq Umar, Zoltán Szekanecz, Ryan K. Zomorrodi, Shiva Shahrara

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

17 Citations (Scopus)


Obesity can instigate and sustain a systemic low-grade inflammatory environment that can amplify autoimmune disorders and their associated comorbidities. Metabolic changes and inflammatory factors produced by the adipose tissue have been reported to aggravate autoimmunity and predispose the patient to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and metabolic comorbidities. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) are autoimmune arthritic diseases, often linked with altered body mass index (BMI). Severe joint inflammation and bone destruction have a debilitating impact on the patient's life; there is also a staggering risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, these patients are at risk of developing metabolic symptoms, including insulin resistance resulting in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). In addition, arthritis severity, progression and response to therapy can be markedly affected by the patient's BMI. Hence, a complex integrative pathogenesis interconnects autoimmunity with metabolic and cardiovascular disorders. This review aims to shed light on the network that connects obesity with RA, PsA, systemic lupus erythematosus and Sjӧgren's syndrome. We have focused on clarifying the mechanism by which obesity affects different cell types, inflammatory factors and traditional therapies in these autoimmune disorders. We conclude that to further optimize arthritis therapy and to prevent CVD, it is imperative to uncover the intricate relation between obesity and arthritis pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-835
Number of pages15
JournalAutoimmunity Reviews
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Inflammation
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity
  • PsA
  • RA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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