The elevated cardiovascular morbidity in rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and the antiphospholipid syndrome is well known, as well as the pulmonary involvement observed in these conditions and to a major extent in systemic sclerosis. These manifestations constitute a major challenge for clinicians involved in patient management. Moreover, several issues regarding the link between autoimmune rheumatic diseases and cardio pulmonary morbidity remain largely enigmatic. The mechanistic role of certain autoantibodies frequently observed in association with heart and lung diseases or the pathogenetic link between chronic inflammation and the pathways leading to atherosclerosis or pulmonary vascular changes are yet to be elucidated. As such, these questions as well as treatment strategies are of common interest to rheumatologists, immunologist, pulmonologists, and cardiologists and thus call for an interdisciplinary approach. This paradigm has been well established for rare conditions such as the Churg-Strauss syndrome. Nowadays, it seems that this approach should be expanded to encompass more common conditions such as coronary heart disease, pulmonary arterial hypertension or dilated cardiomyopathy. The present issue of Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology addresses the new knowledge and concepts of autoimmune-related cardiopulmonary diseases. The issue derives from the 2010 International Autoimmunity Meeting held in Ljubljana, Slovenia and is thus timely and dedicated to the latest developments in this new multidisciplinary field.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy