The Role of Inflammation in Cardiovascular Outcome

Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2017 Mar;19(3):11. doi: 10.1007/s11883-017-0646-1.


Purpose of review: The aim of this review is to update the pathophysiological role of innate immune response in the cardiovascular (CV) disease outcomes, particularly focusing on coronary atherosclerosis and heart failure.

Recent findings: Inflammatory processes comprised with the innate immunity reaction are believed to actively trigger CV disease development and final clinical events. For instance, by releasing proteases and neutrophil extracellular traps, neutrophil recruitment and activation might strongly influence atherosclerotic plaque stability. Similarly, neutrophils drive the early inflammatory response following a myocardial infarction. However, these cells contribute themselves to infarct healing by orchestrating monocyte/macrophage recruitment and polarization within the ischemic myocardium. Given their heterogeneity and plasticity, the balance between recruitment, proliferation, and polarization of monocyte/macrophage is a further leading determinant of advanced plaque maturation. Moreover, timely shift from a pro-inflammatory to a resolving macrophage phenotype may influence cardiac remodeling as well as development of heart failure (HF). Alongside macrophage recruitment and activation into the remote, non-ischemic myocardium also contributes to cardiac remodeling and HF development. Innate immune response is a tightly regulated process where a timely modulation of the balance between damaging and resolving properties critically impacts on CV outcome. Further progress may improve the determination of the prognostic relevance of inflammatory biomarkers on clinical CV outcome.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Heart failure; Inflammation; Macrophage; Myocardial infarction; Neutrophil.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coronary Artery Disease / immunology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology*
  • Heart / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure / immunology
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Myocardial Infarction / immunology
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / immunology
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / physiopathology