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Atherosclerosis. 2013 Jun;228(2):306-15. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.02.028. Epub 2013 Mar 1.

Interactions between inflammation and lipid metabolism: relevance for efficacy of anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of atherosclerosis.

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  • 1Dept. of General Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, Leiden University Medical Center, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands.


Dyslipidemia and inflammation are well known causal risk factors the development of atherosclerosis. The interplay between lipid metabolism and inflammation at multiple levels in metabolic active tissues may exacerbate the development of atherosclerosis, and will be discussed in this review. Cholesterol, fatty acids and modified lipids can directly activate inflammatory pathways. In addition, circulating (modified) lipoproteins modulate the activity of leukocytes. Vice versa, proinflammatory signaling (i.e. cytokines) in pre-clinical models directly affects lipid metabolism. Whereas the main lipid-lowering drugs all have potent anti-inflammatory actions, the lipid-modulating actions of anti-inflammatory agents appear to be less straightforward. The latter have mainly been evaluated in pre-clinical models and in patients with chronic inflammatory diseases, which will be discussed. The clinical trials that are currently conducted to evaluate the efficacy of anti-inflammatory agents in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases may additionally reveal potential (beneficial) effects of these therapeutics on lipid metabolism in the general population at risk for CVD.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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