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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 6813016, 9 pages
Review Article

Endothelial Dysfunction and Inflammation: Immunity in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Anhui Medical University, Key Laboratory of Anti-Inflammatory and Immune Medicine, Ministry of Education, Hefei 230032, China

Received 18 November 2015; Revised 9 March 2016; Accepted 17 March 2016

Academic Editor: Alex Kleinjan

Copyright © 2016 XueZhi Yang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Inflammation, as a feature of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), leads to the activation of endothelial cells (ECs). Activated ECs induce atherosclerosis through an increased expression of leukocyte adhesion molecules. Endothelial dysfunction (ED) is recognized as a failure of endothelial repair mechanisms. It is also an early preclinical marker of atherosclerosis and is commonly found in RA patients. RA is now established as an independent cardiovascular risk factor, while mechanistic determinants of ED in RA are still poorly understood. An expanding body of study has shown that EC at a site of RA is both active participant and regulator of inflammatory process. Over the last decade, a role for endothelial dysfunction in RA associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been hypothesized. At the same time, several maintenance drugs targeting this phenomenon have been tested, which has promising results. Assessment of endothelial function may be a useful tool to identify and monitor RA patients.