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Circ Res. 2004 Oct 29;95(9):858-66.

Chemokines in the pathogenesis of vascular disease.

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  • 1Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, PO Box 419100, San Francisco, CA 94141-9100, USA.


Our increasing appreciation of the importance of inflammation in vascular disease has focused attention on the molecules that direct the migration of leukocytes from the blood stream to the vessel wall. In this review, we summarize roles of the chemokines, a family of small secreted proteins that selectively recruit monocytes, neutrophils, and lymphocytes to sites of vascular injury, inflammation, and developing atherosclerosis. Chemokines induce chemotaxis through the activation of G-protein-coupled receptors, and the receptors that a given leukocyte expresses determines the chemokines to which it will respond. Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1), acting through its receptor CCR2, appears to play an early and important role in the recruitment of monocytes to atherosclerotic lesions and in the formation of intimal hyperplasia after arterial injury. Acute thrombosis is an often fatal complication of atherosclerotic plaque rupture, and recent evidence suggests that MCP-1 contributes to thrombin generation and thrombus formation by generating tissue factor. Because of their critical roles in monocyte recruitment in vascular and nonvascular diseases, MCP-1 and CCR2 have become important therapeutic targets, and efforts are underway to develop potent and specific antagonists of these and related chemokines.

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