From the Journals

Psoriasis patients on biologics show improved heart health



Biologics improved coronary inflammation as well as psoriasis symptoms, according to data from the perivascular fat attenuation index in 134 adults identified using coronary CT angiography.

Coronary CT angiography image of the coronary arteries depicting the perivascular fat attenuation index (FAI) before and after biologic therapy Oxford Academic Cardiovascular CT Core Lab and Lab of Inflammation and Cardiometabolic Diseases at NHLBI

Coronary CT angiography image of the coronary arteries depicting the perivascular fat attenuation index before and after biologic therapy at 1-year follow-up for patients with excellent response to biologic therapy.

“The perivascular fat attenuation index [FAI] is a [CT]-based, novel, noninvasive imaging technique that allows for direct visualization and quantification of coronary inflammation using differential mapping of attenuation gradients in pericoronary fat,” wrote Youssef A. Elnabawi, MD, of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and colleagues. Biologics have been associated with reduced noncalcified coronary plaques in psoriasis patients, which suggests possible reduction in coronary inflammation as well.

In a study published in JAMA Cardiology, the researchers analyzed data from 134 adults with moderate to severe psoriasis who received no biologic therapy for at least 3 months before starting the study. Of these, 52 chose not to receive biologics, and served as controls while being treated with topical or light therapies. The participants are part of the Psoriasis Atherosclerosis Cardiometabolic Initiative, an ongoing, prospective cohort study. The average age of the patients was 51 years, and 63% were male.

The 82 patients given biologics received anti–tumor necrosis factor–alpha, anti–interleukin-12/23, or anti-IL-17 for 1 year. Overall, patients on biologics showed a significant decrease in FAI from a median of –71.22 Hounsfield units (HU) at baseline to a median of –76.06 at 1 year. These patients also showed significant improvement in Psoriasis Area and Severity Index scores, from a median of 7.7 at baseline to a median of 3.2 at 1 year. The control patients not on biologics showed no significant changes in FAI, with a median of –71.98 HU at baseline and –72.66 HU at 1 year.

The changes were consistent among the various biologics used, and The median FAI for patients on anti–tumor necrosis factor–alpha changed from –71.25 at baseline to –75.49 at 1 year; median FAI for both IL-12/23 and anti-IL-17 treatment groups changed from –71.18 HU at baseline to –76.92 at 1 year.

In addition, only patients treated with biologics showed a significant reduction in median C-reactive protein levels from baseline (2.2 mg/L vs. 1.3 mg/L). The changes in FAI were not associated with the presence of coronary plaques, the researchers noted.

The study findings were limited by several factors, including the observational design, small size, and lack of data on cardiovascular endpoints. “Future studies will be needed to explore whether the residual CV risk detected by perivascular FAI can be attenuated using targeted anti-inflammatory interventions,” they wrote.

However, the results suggest that biologics impact coronary vasculature at the microenvironmental level, and that FAI can be a noninvasive, cost-effective way to stratify patients at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, the researchers noted.

“We believe that the strength of perivascular FAI in risk stratifying patients with increased coronary inflammation will allow for better identification of patients at increased risk of future myocardial events that are not captured by traditional CV risk factors,” they wrote.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, several research foundations, Elsevier, Colgate-Palmolive, and Genentech. Dr. Elnabawi had no financial conflicts to disclose; several coauthors reported relationships with multiple companies. One coauthor disclosed a pending and licensed patent to a novel tool for cardiovascular risk stratification based on the CT attenuation of perivascular tissue (OxScore) and a pending and licensed patent to perivascular texture index.

SOURCE: Elnabawi YA et al. JAMA Cardiol. 2019 Jul 31. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2019.2589.

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