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Angiology. 2007 Oct-Nov;58(5):513-22.

Atherosclerosis pathophysiology and the role of novel risk factors: a clinicobiochemical perspective.

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Department of Biochemistry, G.B. Pant Hospital, New Delhi, India.


Atherosclerosis is the root cause of the biggest killer of the 21st century. Mechanisms contributing to atherogenesis are multiple and complex. A number of theories-including the role of dyslipidemia, hypercoagulability, oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, and inflammation and infection by certain pathogens-have been propounded from time to time explain this complex phenomenon. Recently it has been suggested that atherosclerosis is a multifactorial, multistep disease that involves chronic inflammation at every step, from initiation to progression, and that all the risk factors contribute to pathogenesis by aggravating the underlying inflammatory process. A better understanding of the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis will aid in devising pharmaceutical and lifestyle modifications for reducing mortality resulting from coronary artery disease (CAD).A comprehensive literature search was conducted using the Web sites of the National Library of Medicine (http:// and PubMed Central, the US National Library of Medicine's digital archive of life sciences literature (http:// The data were accessed from books and journals in which relevant articles in this field were published. The whole spectrum of coronary artery disease evolves through various events that lead to the formation and progression of atherosclerotic plaque and finally its complications. Atherosclerosis is the culprit behind coronary artery disease, cerebral vascular disease, and peripheral vascular disease. The pathogenic mechanisms are varied and complex. Of late, the role of lipoprotein (a), homocysteine, and inflammation and infection as prime culprits in pathogenesis of CAD is the subject of intense research and debate. The appreciation of the role of inflammation in atherosclerosis provides a mechanistic framework to understand the clinical benefits of newer therapeutic strategies, and a better understanding of pathogenesis aids in formulating preventive and therapeutic strategies in reducing mortality resulting from CAD.An in-depth knowledge of the various pathogenic mechanisms involved in atherosclerosis can help in substantiating the current existing knowledge about the CAD epidemic. This knowledge will help clinicians to better manage the disease, which affects Indians in its most severe form.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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