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Am J Cardiovasc Dis. 2011;1(2):150-8. Epub 2011 Jul 28.

Heme oxygenase-1 in inflammation and cardiovascular disease.


Cardiovascular disease accounts for 1 of every 2.9 deaths in the United States, thus the burden of the disease remains high. Given the high mortality and escalating healthcare cost for the disease, it is of urgent need to treat cardiovascular disease effectively. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) catalyzes the oxidation of heme to generate carbon monoxide, biliverdin, and iron. These reaction products of HO-1 have potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative functions. Although HO-1 is expressed at low levels in most tissues under normal basal conditions, it is highly inducible in response to various pathophysiological stresses. Numerous studies have indicated that HO-1 induction is an adaptive defense mechanism to protect cells and tissues against injury in many disease settings. This review highlights the role of HO-1 in inflammation and several cardiovascular diseases-atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, graft survival after heart transplantation, and abdominal aortic aneurysm. Given that inflammation and oxidative stress are associated with development of cardiovascular disease and that HO-1 has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties, HO-1 is emerging as a great potential therapeutic target for treating cardiovascular disease.


Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1); cardiovascular disease; inflammation


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