Objective: Both periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are overrepresented in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This study was undertaken to investigate the contribution of periodontal pathogens to CVD in RA. Methods: RA patients underwent assessments of coronary artery calcification (CAC), carotid intima-media thickness and plaque, and ankle–brachial index via computed tomography, ultrasound, and Doppler ultrasound, respectively. Sera were assayed for antibodies targeting Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg), Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans serotype B (Aa), and Aa-derived leukotoxin A (LtxA). Associations of antibodies against these periodontal pathogens with measures of atherosclerosis were explored using generalized linear models. Results: Among 197 RA patients, anti-Pg was detected in 72 patients (37%), anti-Aa in 41 patients (21%), and anti-LtxA in 84 patients (43%). Adjusting for relevant confounders and reported tooth loss, the mean CAC score was 90% higher in those with anti-Aa and/or anti-LtxA compared with those without either antibody (19 units versus 10 units; P = 0.033). The adjusted odds of CAC ≥100 units were 2.23-fold higher in those with anti-Aa and/or anti-LtxA compared with those without either antibody (P = 0.040). Anti-Aa and/or anti-LtxA seropositivity was significantly associated with all other assessed measures of atherosclerosis except carotid plaque. Anti-Pg was not associated with any measure of atherosclerosis. Higher swollen joint count was associated with CAC exclusively in the group with anti-Aa and/or anti-LtxA. Conclusion: Immunoreactivity against Aa and/or its major virulence factor LtxA was associated with atherosclerosis in multiple vascular beds of RA patients and amplified the effect of swollen joints on coronary atherosclerosis, suggesting a role for treatment/prevention of periodontal disease in the prevention of CVD in RA.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy