Metabolic syndrome, inflammation and atherosclerosis

Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2006;2(2):145-52. doi: 10.2147/vhrm.2006.2.2.145.


The inflammatory component of atherogenesis has been increasingly recognized over the last decade. Inflammation participates in all stages of atherosclerosis, not only during initiation and during evolution of lesions, but also with precipitation of acute thrombotic complications. The metabolic syndrome is associated with increased risk for development of both cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes in humans. Central obesity and insulin resistance are thought to represent common underlying factors of the syndrome, which features a chronic low-grade inflammatory state. Diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome occurs using defined threshold values for waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting glucose and dyslipidemia. The metabolic syndrome appears to affect a significant proportion of the population. Therapeutic approaches that reduce the levels of proinflammatory biomarkers and address traditional risk factors are particularly important in preventing cardiovascular disease and, potentially, diabetes. The primary management of metabolic syndrome involves healthy lifestyle promotion through moderate calorie restriction, moderate increase in physical activity and change in dietary composition. Treatment of individual components aims to control atherogenic dyslipidemia using fibrates and statins, elevated blood pressure, and hyperglycemia. While no single treatment for the metabolic syndrome as a whole yet exists, emerging therapies offer potential as future therapeutic approaches.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis / etiology*
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / mortality
  • Metabolic Syndrome / therapy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors