Premature cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Young women with SLE are 50 times more likely to develop CVD than other individuals. This article reports that short-term administration of a PPAR-γ agonist, pioglitazone (PGZ), a class of drugs approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, was associated with significant improvement in arterial stiffness and various cardiometabolic parameters in SLE patients.

What is exciting about this article?

Despite substantial progress in treating SLE, the underlying cause of premature CVD in people with SLE remains poorly understood, and no therapeutic options are known to significantly lower CVD risk in people with SLE. This study showed for the first time that short-term use of a non-immunosuppressive agent like PGZ improved blood vessel stiffness and cardiometabolic parameters as well as mitigated organ damage in people with SLE. Therefore, the potential benefits of using other PPAR-γ agonists as therapeutics for CVD should be explored as they could contribute to future treatment options for people with autoimmune diseases like SLE.

How does this fit into the larger NIAMS portfolio?

Dr. Hasni's research focuses on providing excellent clinical care to people with lupus. This study shows that short-term use of non-immunosuppressive medications improved blood vessel stiffness and cardiometabolic parameters, and mitigated organ damage in people with SLE.

Grant support


Research Areas:

Autoimmunity Clinical Research Immunology


Peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-γ agonist pioglitazone improves vascular and metabolic dysfunction in systemic lupus erythematosus.

Hasni S, Temesgen-Oyelakin Y, Davis M, Chu J, Poncio E, Naqi M, Gupta S, Wang X, Oliveira C, Claybaugh D, Dey A, Lu S, Carlucci P, Purmalek M, Manna ZG, Shi Y, Ochoa-Navas I, Chen J, Mukherjee A, Han KL, Cheung F, Koroleva G, Belkaid Y, Tsang JS, Apps R, Thomas DE, Heller T, Gadina M, Playford MP, Li X, Mehta NN, Kaplan MJ
Ann Rheum Dis.
2022 Aug 1;
doi: 10.1136/ard-2022-222658
PMID: 35914929

Research reported in this publication was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the NIHʼs National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.