Serum concentrations of alpha tocopherol, beta carotene, and retinol preceding the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.Ann Rheum Dis 1997; 56(5):323-5AR
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 alpha tocopherol, beta 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.
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 alpha tocopherol, beta carotene, and retinol.
Cases of both diseases had lower serum concentrations of alpha tocopherol, beta carotene, and retinol in 1974 than their matched controls. For rheumatoid arthritis, the difference for beta carotene (-29%) was statistically significant.
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.