Psoriasis and cardiovascular disease


Gino A. Vena, MD, 2nd Dermatology Clinic, University of Bari, Policlinico, Piazza Giulio Cesare, 11 – 70124, Bari, Italy, or e-mail:


Current epidemiological data support the association between psoriasis and cardiovascular (CV) risk, in apparent correlation with psoriasis severity. Although less unanimously, evidence of an increased prevalence of CV diseases among psoriasis patients has been reported, including ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular, peripheral vascular and heart structural disorders. In particular, various studies showed a correlation between psoriasis and major CV events (i.e., myocardial infarction, stroke), while others investigated subclinical changes of blood vessels, such as intima-media thickness increase, arterial stiffness and coronary artery calcification. A series of different mechanisms, like traditional CV risk or iatrogenic risk factors, inflammation, hemostasis dysregulation, hyperhomocysteinemia, and shared genetic susceptibility, are thought to underlie this epidemiological association. Among these elements, inflammation and its related cytokine milieu, including Th1-mediated response and Th17/Treg imbalance, C reactive protein and the newly implicated osteopontin are considered to play a primary role, even if yet to be fully understood.