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Exp Physiol. 1997 Mar;82(2):297-304.

Role of nuclear factor-kappa B in atherogenesis.

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Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry, Technical University Munich, Klinikum rechts der Isar, M√ľnchen, Germany.


Transcription factors of the nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappa B)/Rel family have an important function in the regulation of a variety of genes involved in the inflammatory and proliferative responses of cells. Recent studies strongly indicate that the inducible transcription factor NF-kappa B is involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Activated NF-kappa B is present in the fibrotic thickened intima-media and atheromatous areas of the atherosclerotic lesion, within smooth muscle cells, macrophages and endothelial cells, whereas little or no activated NF-kappa B can be detected in vessels lacking atherosclerosis. A variety of molecules have been identified in the atherosclerotic environment that are able to activate NF-kappa B in vitro. Furthermore, an increased expression of numerous genes known to be regulated by NF-kappa B has been found in the atherosclerotic lesion. Possible functional implications for activated NF-kappa B in atherogenesis are discussed here. The activation and role of NF-kappa B in atherosclerosis may provide a model for the involvement of the transcription factor in human chronic inflammatory disease.

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