Inflammation and cardiovascular disease: from pathogenesis to therapeutic target

Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2014 Sep;16(9):435. doi: 10.1007/s11883-014-0435-z.


Atherosclerosis represents the most common pathological substrate of coronary heart disease (CHD), and the characterization of the disease as a chronic low-grade inflammatory condition is now largely accepted. A number of mediators of inflammation have been widely studied, both as surrogate biomarkers and as causal agents, in the pathophysiological network of atherogenesis and plaque vulnerability. The epidemiological observation that biomarkers of inflammation are associated with clinical cardiovascular risk supports the theory that targeted anti-inflammatory treatment appears to be a promising strategy in reducing residual cardiovascular risk on the background of traditional medical therapy. A large number of randomized controlled trials have shown that drugs commonly used in cardiovascular disease (CVD), such as statins, may be effective in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular events through an anti-inflammatory effect. Moreover, several anti-inflammatory drugs are being tested for their potential to reduce residual cardiovascular risk on the background of validated medical therapy for atherosclerotic disease. In this paper, we review relevant evidence with regard to the relationship between inflammation and CVD, from pathogenesis to therapeutic strategies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Inflammation / complications*
  • Inflammation / diagnosis
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors