Atherosclerosis and multi-organ-associated pathologies

Semin Immunopathol. 2022 May;44(3):363-374. doi: 10.1007/s00281-022-00914-y. Epub 2022 Mar 3.


Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the vascular system that is characterized by the deposition of modified lipoproteins, accumulation of immune cells, and formation of fibrous tissue within the vessel wall. The disease occurs in vessels throughout the body and affects the functions of almost all organs including the lymphoid system, bone marrow, heart, brain, pancreas, adipose tissue, liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract. Atherosclerosis and associated factors influence these tissues via the modulation of local vascular functions, induction of cholesterol-associated pathologies, and regulation of local immune responses. In this review, we discuss how atherosclerosis interferers with functions of different organs via several common pathways and how the disturbance of immunity in atherosclerosis can result in disease-provoking dysfunctions in multiple tissues. Our growing appreciation of the implication of atherosclerosis and associated microenvironmental conditions in the multi-organ pathology promises to influence our understanding of CVD-associated disease pathologies and to provide new therapeutic opportunities.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Immune cells; Inflammation; Multiple organs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Atherosclerosis* / etiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Liver