Inflammation in atherosclerosis

Nature. 2002 Dec;420(6917):868-74. doi: 10.1038/nature01323.


Abundant data link hypercholesterolaemia to atherogenesis. However, only recently have we appreciated that inflammatory mechanisms couple dyslipidaemia to atheroma formation. Leukocyte recruitment and expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines characterize early atherogenesis, and malfunction of inflammatory mediators mutes atheroma formation in mice. Moreover, inflammatory pathways promote thrombosis, a late and dreaded complication of atherosclerosis responsible for myocardial infarctions and most strokes. The new appreciation of the role of inflammation in atherosclerosis provides a mechanistic framework for understanding the clinical benefits of lipid-lowering therapies. Identifying the triggers for inflammation and unravelling the details of inflammatory pathways may eventually furnish new therapeutic targets.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arteriosclerosis / etiology*
  • Arteriosclerosis / immunology
  • Arteriosclerosis / pathology*
  • Arteriosclerosis / therapy
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Inflammation / therapy
  • Leukocytes / immunology
  • Risk
  • Tunica Intima / immunology
  • Tunica Intima / pathology