Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease associated with cardiovascular dysfunction including myocardial infarction, unstable angina, sudden cardiac death, stroke and peripheral thromboses. It has been predicted that atherosclerosis will be the primary cause of death in the world by 2020. Atherogenesis is initiated by endothelial injury due to oxidative stress associated with cardiovascular risk factors including diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cigarette smoking, dyslipidemia, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. The impairment of the endothelium associated with cardiovascular risk factors creates an imbalance between vasodilating and vasoconstricting factors, in particular, an increase in angiotensin II (Ang II) and a decrease in nitric oxide. The renin-angiotensin system (RAS), and its primary mediator Ang II, also have a direct influence on the progression of the atherosclerotic process via effects on endothelial function, inflammation, fibrinolytic balance, and plaque stability. Anti-inflammatory agents [statins, secretory phospholipase A2 inhibitor, lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 inhibitor, 5-lipoxygenase activating protein, chemokine motif ligand-2, C-C chemokine motif receptor 2 pathway inhibitors, methotrexate, IL-1 pathway inhibitor and RAS inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors)], Ang II receptor blockers and ranin inhibitors may slow inflammatory processes and disease progression. Several studies in human using anti-inflammatory agents and RAS inhibitors revealed vascular benefits and reduced progression of coronary atherosclerosis in patients with stable angina pectoris; decreased vascular inflammatory markers, improved common carotid intima-media thickness and plaque volume in patients with diagnosed atherosclerosis. Recent preclinical studies have demonstrated therapeutic efficacy of vitamin D analogs paricalcitol in ApoE-deficient atherosclerotic mice.
Keywords: Anti-inflammatory drugs; Atherosclerosis; Inflammation; Oxidants/antioxidants imbalance; Renin-angiotensin system; Renin-angiotensin system blockers.