Tumor necrosis factor inhibitors are associated with reduced complement activation in spondylarthropathies: An observational study
AuthorHokstad, Ingrid; Deyab, Gia; Fagerland, Morten; Lyberg, Torstein; Hjeltnes, Gunnbjørg; Førre, Øystein Thorleiv; Agewall, Stefan; Mollnes, Tom Eirik; Hollan, Ivana
Methods - From PSARA, a prospective observational study, we examined 51 SpA patients (31 psoriatic arthritis (PsA), and 20 ankylosing spondylitis (AS)), starting tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor alone (n = 25), combined with methotrexate (MTX) (n = 10), or MTX monotherapy (n = 16). Complement activation was determined by the soluble terminal complement complex (sC5b-9), inflammation by erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP), and endothelial function by finger plethysmography (Endopat) at baseline, after 6 weeks and 6 months of treatment.
Results - SpA patients had sC5b-9 levels at (PsA) or above (AS) the upper limit of the estimated reference range. Median sC5b-9 levels decreased significantly from baseline to 6 weeks, with no significant difference between the AS and PsA group. Notably, a significant reduction in sC5b-9 was observed after administration of TNF inhibitor ± MTX, whereas no significant changes were observed in patients treated with MTX alone. Between 6 weeks and 6 months, sC5b-9 remained stable across all subgroups. Reduction in sC5b-9 was independently related to decreased ESR and CRP, and to increased high density cholesterol and total cholesterol. Reduction in sC5b-9 from baseline to 6 weeks was associated with improved EF in age and gender adjusted analyses.
Conclusion - TNF-inhibition, but not MTX monotherapy, led to rapid and sustained reduction of complement activation in SpA. Thus, the observed decrease in cardiovascular morbidity in patients treated with TNF-inhibitors might be partly due to its beneficial effect on complement.