Arterial stiffness is an established marker of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and a potential therapeutic target. While hypertension and aging are established factors contributing to arterial stiffness, the role of inflammation in stiffening of the arteries is less well understood. We summarize existing literature regarding inflammation and arterial stiffness, including a discussion of the potential mechanisms by which inflammation may lead to arterial stiffening and studies assessing: (1) The association between subclinical inflammation and arterial stiffness in the general population; (2) The presence of increased arterial stiffness in primary inflammatory diseases; (3) The effect of anti-inflammatory therapy on arterial stiffness in primary inflammatory disease including the effect of statins; (4) Experimental evidence of immunization-induced arterial stiffening in normal adults. We discuss potential opportunities to assess the impact of anti-inflammatory interventions on arterial stiffness in subjects without primary inflammatory conditions. We also review the effect of inflammation on wave reflections.
Keywords: Arterial stiffness; Cardiovascular risk; Inflammation; Pulse wave velocity.
Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.