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Circ Res. 2001 Dec 7;89(12):1092-103.

CD40 signaling and plaque instability.

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  • 1Leducq Center for Cardiovascular Research, Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

Today, multiple lines of evidence support the view of atherosclerosis as a chronic inflammatory disease and implicate components of the immune system in atherogenesis. Recent work has documented overexpression of the potent immune mediator CD40 and its counterpart CD40 ligand (CD40L) in experimental and human atherosclerotic lesions. Notably, interruption of CD40/CD40L interactions not only diminished the formation and progression of mouse atheroma, but also fostered changes in lesion biology and structure, which are associated in humans with "plaque stabilization." In accordance with the hypothesis that CD40 signaling promotes plaque instability, in vitro studies demonstrated that ligation of CD40 on atheroma-associated cell types, namely endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and macrophages, mediates functions considered crucial to the process of atherogenesis, such as the expression of cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, matrix metalloproteinases, and procoagulants. The combination of the broad gamut of proatherogenic biological responses triggered by ligation of CD40 on endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and macrophages in vitro and the results of in vivo studies of interruption of CD40 signaling suggests a central role for this receptor/ligand dyad during atherogenesis, proposing CD40/CD40L interactions as a novel potential therapeutic target for this prevalent human disease.

PMID:
11739273
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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