Leukotriene signaling in atherosclerosis and ischemia

Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 2009 Feb;23(1):41-8. doi: 10.1007/s10557-008-6140-9. Epub 2008 Oct 24.


Introduction: The inflammatory process of atherosclerosis is associated with several pathophysiological reactions within the vascular wall. The arachidonic acid released by phospholipase A(2) serves as substrate for the production of a group of lipid mediators known as the leukotrienes, which induce pro-inflammatory signaling through activation of specific BLT and CysLT receptors.

Discussion: Leukotriene signaling has been implicated in early lipid retention and foam cell accumulation, as well as in the development of intimal hyperplasia and advanced atherosclerotic lesions. Furthermore, the association of leukotrienes with degradation of extracellular matrix has suggested a role in atherosclerotic plaque rupture. Finally, studies of either myocardial or cerebral ischemia and reperfusion indicate that leukotriene signaling in addition may be involved in the development of ischemic injury.

Conclusion: Both leukotriene synthesis inhibitors and leukotriene receptor antagonists have been suggested to induce beneficial effects at different stages of the atherosclerosis process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis / drug therapy
  • Atherosclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Leukotriene Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Leukotrienes / metabolism*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / physiopathology
  • Receptors, Leukotriene / drug effects
  • Receptors, Leukotriene / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Leukotriene Antagonists
  • Leukotrienes
  • Receptors, Leukotriene