[Pathophysiology of giant cell arteritis]

Rev Med Interne. 2013 Jul;34(7):392-402. doi: 10.1016/j.revmed.2013.02.037. Epub 2013 Mar 23.
[Article in French]


Giant cell arteritis is a large-vessel vasculitis affecting all three layers of the arterial wall. Histopathology of this vasculitis consists of an inflammatory infiltrate with CD4(+) T cells, macrophages, multinucleated giant cells, forming granulomas in the media. This infiltrate is associated with a destruction of the arterial wall, a fragmentation of the internal elastic lamina and a vascular remodeling leading to intimal hyperplasia. Recent studies have clarified the role of Th17 cells in the initial phase of the disease, pro-inflammatory cytokines and vascular smooth muscle cells in vascular remodeling. This review aims to update data on giant cell arteritis pathogenesis and to propose clues of investigation for a better understanding of this condition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endothelial Cells / immunology
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / immunology*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiology
  • Infections / complications
  • Infections / immunology
  • Interleukin-1beta / physiology
  • Interleukin-6 / physiology


  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Interleukin-6