Novel imaging biomarker could track interventions on coronary artery disease

Researchers have found that anti-inflammatory biologic therapies used to treat moderate to severe psoriasis can significantly reduce coronary inflammation in patients with the chronic skin condition. Scientists said the findings are particularly notable because of the use of a novel imaging biomarker, the perivascular fat attenuation index (FAI), that was able to measure the effect of the therapy in reducing the inflammation.

Image/Hans Braxmeier

The study published online in JAMA Cardiology, has implications not just for people with psoriasis, but for those with other chronic inflammatory diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. These conditions are known to increase the risk for heart attacks and strokes. The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health,

“Coronary inflammation offers important clues about the risk of developing heart artery disease,” said study’s senior author Nehal N. Mehta, M.D., a cardiologist and head of the Lab of Inflammation and Cardiometabolic Diseases at NHLBI. “Our findings add to the growing body of research that shows treating underlying inflammatory conditions may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.”

The researchers analyzed 134 patients who suffered moderate to severe psoriasis and had not received biologic treatment for at least three months before starting on the study’s therapy. Fifty-two of these patients who chose not to receive the biologic therapy, were treated with topical or light therapies only and served as the control group. The participants are from an ongoing, prospective cohort study, the Psoriasis Atherosclerosis Cardiometabolic Initiative cohort at NIH.

Read more at NIH