OBJECTIVES Because oxidative damage has been implicated in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, this study was designed to see if serum concentrations of α tocopherol, β carotene, and retinol, substances believed to be involved in the prevention or repair of oxidative damage, might be lower among persons who develop rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus than among those who do not.
METHODS For this prospective case-control study, persons with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus that developed two to 15 years after donating blood for a serum bank in 1974 were designated as cases. For each case, four controls were selected from the serum bank donors, matched for race, sex, and age. Stored serum samples from cases and controls were assayed for α tocopherol, β carotene, and retinol.
RESULTS Cases of both diseases had lower serum concentrations of α tocopherol, β carotene, and retinol in 1974 than their matched controls. For rheumatoid arthritis, the difference for β carotene (−29%) was statistically significant.
CONCLUSIONS These findings support those of a previous study that low antioxidant status is a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis. They suggest a similar association for systemic lupus erythematosus.
- rheumatoid arthritis
- systemic lupus erythematosus
- vitamin E
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