Immunity and Inflammation in Atherosclerosis

Circ Res. 2019 Jan 18;124(2):315-327. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.118.313591.


There is now overwhelming experimental and clinical evidence that atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease. Lessons from genome-wide association studies, advanced in vivo imaging techniques, transgenic lineage tracing mice, and clinical interventional studies have shown that both innate and adaptive immune mechanisms can accelerate or curb atherosclerosis. Here, we summarize and discuss the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis with a focus on adaptive immunity. We discuss some limitations of animal models and the need for models that are tailored to better translate to human atherosclerosis and ultimately progress in prevention and treatment.

Keywords: adaptive immunity; atherosclerosis; immunity; inflammation; myeloid cells; vaccination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity*
  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis / immunology*
  • Atherosclerosis / metabolism
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Inflammation Mediators / immunology*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic
  • Signal Transduction
  • Species Specificity


  • Inflammation Mediators