Inflammation is a hallmark and potent driver of pathological vascular remodelling in atherosclerosis. However, current anti-inflammatory therapeutic strategies have shown mixed results. As an alternative perspective on the conundrum of chronic inflammation emerging evidence points towards a small subset of senescent cells as a critical player and central node driving atherosclerosis. Senescent cells belonging to various cell types are a dominant and chronic source of a large array of pro-inflammatory cytokines and various additional plaque destabilizing factors, being involved with various aspects of atherosclerosis pathogenesis. Antagonizing these key agitators of local chronic inflammation and plaque instability may provide a causative and multi-purpose therapeutic strategy to treat atherosclerosis. Anti-senescence treatment options with translational potential are currently in development. However, several questions and challenges remain to be addressed before these novel treatment approaches may enter the clinical setting.
Keywords: Ageing; Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular disease; Inflammation; Vascular disease.
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology.
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