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Histol Histopathol. 2008 Mar;23(3):381-90. doi: 10.14670/HH-23.381.

Atherosclerosis and oxidative stress.

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Division of Human Anatomy, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy.


This review focuses on the morphological features of atherosclerosis and the involvement of oxidative stress in the initiation and progression of this disease. There is now consensus that atherosclerosis represents a state of heightened oxidative stress characterized by lipid and protein in the vascular wall. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are key mediators of signaling pathways that underlie vascular inflammation in atherogenesis, starting from the initiation of fatty streak development, through lesion progression, to ultimate plaque rupture. Plaque rupture and thrombosis result in the acute clinical complications of myocardial infarction and stroke. Many data support the notion that ROS released from nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase, myeloperoxidase (MPO), xanthine oxidase (XO), lipoxygenase (LO), nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and enhanced ROS production from dysfunctional mitochondrial respiratory chain, indeed, have a causatory role in atherosclerosis and other vascular diseases. Moreover, oxidative modifications in the arterial wall can contribute to the arteriosclerosis when the balance between oxidants and antioxidants shifts in favour of the former. Therefore, it is important to consider sources of oxidants in the context of available antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase and transferases thiol-disulfide oxidoreductases and peroxiredoxins. Here, we review also the mechanisms in which they are involved in order to accelerate the pace of the discovery and facilitate development of novel therapeutic approaches.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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