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Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Feb;137(2):172-82. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2012.10.001. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

Plasmacytoid dendritic cells: biomarkers or potential therapeutic targets in atherosclerosis?

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  • 1Department of Experimental Pharmacology, University of Naples Federico II, 80131 Naples, Italy.


Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) represent a unique subset of dendritic cells that play distinct and critical roles in the immune response. Importantly, pDCs play a pivotal role in several chronic autoimmune diseases strongly characterized by an increased risk of vascular pathology. Clinical studies have shown that pDCs are detectable in atherosclerotic plaques and others have suggested an association between reduced numbers of circulating pDCs and cardiovascular events. Although the causal relationship between pDCs and atherosclerosis is still uncertain, recent results from mouse models are starting to define the specific role(s) of pDCs in the disease process. In this review, we will discuss the role of pDCs in innate and adaptive immunity, the emerging evidence demonstrating the contribution of pDCs to vascular pathology and we will consider the possible impact of pDCs on the acceleration of atherosclerosis in chronic inflammatory autoimmune diseases. Finally, we will discuss how pDCs could be targeted for therapeutic utility.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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