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Cardiovasc Ther. 2012 Aug;30(4):e189-97. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5922.2011.00274.x. Epub 2011 Apr 1.

Targeting inflammation in cardiovascular diseases. still a neglected field?

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Renal and Vascular Inflammation, IIS-Fundacion Jimenez Diaz, Autonoma University, Madrid, Spain.


Prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis is still a clinical challenge in the cardiovascular medicine. The classical belief that atherosclerotic lesion development solely depends on lipid deposition has been replaced by the current concept that activation of immune and inflammatory responses plays a central role in plaque initiation and progression. In this review we summarize studies on human and genetically modified animals describing a finite number of cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie immunoinflammation in atherosclerotic plaques. We focus on the pro- and antiinflammatory mediators activated during atherogenesis and the intracellular signaling pathways regulating these events. Besides the advances on established pharmacological agents, we propose potential strategies for reduction/stabilization of atherosclerotic plaques based on the clinical data in inflammatory-associated pathologies and on the encouraging studies in experimental models of atherosclerosis. We emphasize the potential of such novel inhibitors comprising receptor antagonists, neutralizing antibodies, kinase inhibitors, peptide-based technologies, and chemicals as emerging antiinflammatory strategies for the treatment of atherosclerotic disease complications.

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