Background and Objective Altered lipid levels may occur in autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. However, serum lipid profiles in patients with dermatomyositis (DM) have not been investigated. Our aim was to identify lipid profiles in untreated DM patients, and to assess the relationship of the inflammatory condition of DM with lipid profiles.
Methods This work was designed and conducted as a case-control study. Forty-one DM patients and 41 age- and gender-matched healthy controls were included. None of the patients had received corticosteroids or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs prior to the study. Triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) were assessed using standard techniques.
Results Twenty-nine patients (70.7%) had an increase level of TG, and 41.5% had a decrease level of HDL-C. The levels of HDL-C in DM were significantly lower than in controls (P < 0.01). The levels of TG, Non- HDL-cholesterol and very LDL-cholesterol (VLDL-C) were significantly higher than in controls (P < 0.001, P < 0.001 and P < 0.05 respectively). The ratios of VLDL-C/LDL-C, TC/HDL-C and LDL-C/HDL-C were significantly higher than in controls (P < 0.001). Spearman’s correlation test demonstrated that serum CRP levels correlated negatively with HDL-C in DM(r = −0.420, P = 0.006).
Conclusion Dyslipoproteinemia is a common feature in patients with DM that is characterized by an increase in TG and a decrease in HDL-C, suggesting a high risk of atherosclerosis. Inflammation might partly account for the changes of serum lipid profiles in DM.