Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus have up to a 50-fold increased risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Recent advances in the etiology of vascular damage in this disease stress the interplay of lupus-specific inflammatory factors with traditional cardiac risk factors, leading to increased endothelial damage. This review analyzes the putative role that immune dysregulation and lupus-specific factors may play in the pathogenesis of premature vascular damage in this disease. The potential role of various cytokines, in particular type I interferons, in the development of accelerated atherosclerosis is examined. Potential therapeutic targets are discussed
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