Atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease are the leading cause of death worldwide. Atherosclerosis is a complex inflammatory disease that results from lipid accumulation and oxidation in the arterial wall combined with an active inflammatory reaction involving transmigration of monocytes and other inflammatory cells from the blood stream into the vessel wall. Many therapeutic approaches have been tested to treat atherosclerosis and prevent its complications, with statins being the most efficient therapy by reducing the levels of atherogenic lipoproteins and preventing major cardiovascular events. However, the risk of atherothrombotic complications still remains high, causing millions of deaths around the world each year. Extensive research has shed light on the cascade of cellular and molecular events that lead from atherosclerotic plaque formation to its rupture and have highlighted promising new therapeutic targets, each being implicated at different stages of the atherosclerotic plaque formation and progression. In this review, we briefly discuss the potential of high-density lipoprotein-based therapies, given the anti-inflammatory properties of high-density lipoprotein. We then present different approaches that tackle inflammation, including inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase, blockade of P-selectin, use of a viral-derived serpin, and interleukin-1β inhibition. All these targets have shown encouraging results in clinical trials and support the idea that targeting inflammation could reduce cardiovascular complications in patients with coronary artery disease.
Copyright © 2012 Canadian Cardiovascular Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.