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Int J Prev Med. 2014 Aug;5(8):927-46.

Atherosclerosis: process, indicators, risk factors and new hopes.

Author information

1
Medical Plants Research Center, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Sharekord, Iran.
2
Department of Biology, Izeh Branch, Islamic Azad University, Izeh, Iran.
3
Department of Microbiology, Falavarjan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Falavarjan, Isfahan, Iran.
4
Department of Pathology, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.
5
Department of Internal Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Atherosclerosis is the major cause of morbidities and mortalities worldwide. In this study we aimed to review the mechanism of atherosclerosis and its risk factors, focusing on new findings in atherosclerosis markers and its risk factors. Furthermore, the role of antioxidants and medicinal herbs in atherosclerosis and endothelial damage has been discussed and a list of important medicinal plants effective in the treatment and prevention of hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis is presented.

METHODS:

The recently published papers about atherosclerosis pathogenesis and herbal medicines effective in the treatment and prevention of hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis were searched.

RESULTS:

Inflammation has a crucial role in pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. The disease is accompanied by excessive fibrosis of the intima, fatty plaques formation, proliferation of smooth muscle cells, and migration of a group of cells such as monocytes, T cells, and platelets which are formed in response to inflammation. The oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) to Ox-LDL indicates the first step of atherosclerosis in cardiovascular diseases. Malondialdehyde factor shows the level of lipoperoxidation and is a sign of increased oxidative pressure and cardiovascular diseases. In special pathological conditions such as severe hypercholesterolemia, peroxynitrite concentration increases and atherosclerosis and vascular damage are intensified. Medicinal plants have shown to be capable of interacting these or other pathogenesis factors to prevent atherosclerosis.

CONCLUSIONS:

The pathogenesis factors involved in atherosclerosis have recently been cleared and the discovery of these factors has brought about new hopes for better prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis.

KEYWORDS:

Atherosclerosis; inflammation; lipids

PMID:
25489440
PMCID:
PMC4258672

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