In many ways, atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disorder and this issue is confirmed by recent investigations of that have focused on inflammation, providing new insight into mechanisms of disease. Several recent studies have addressed the role of chemokines in leukocyte accumulation in atherosclerosis, extending our knowledge and understanding of the complex and cell type-specific functions of chemokines in atherosclerosis. Activated T-lymphocytes within the atherosclerotic vessel wall express the CD40 ligand surface molecule, known to play a major role in several immunological pathways. In addition to activated T-lymphocytes, functional CD40 and CD40L are coexpressed by human vascular endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells and human macrophages in vitro as well as in situ in human atherosclerotic lesions. Recent studies indicate that CD40L activates atheroma-associated cells by promoting the expression of molecules thought to be involved in atherosclerosis, such as adhesion molecules, cytokines, matrix metalloproteinases, and tissue factor. Atherosclerosis starts with an innate immune response involving the recruitment and activation of monocytes macrophages that respond to an excessive accumulation of modified lipids within the arterial wall, followed by an adaptive immune response involving antigen-specific T lymphocytes. Effector T cells recognize modified auto-antigens such as oxidized LDL and heat shock proteins (i.e. HSP-60) that are presented by antigen-presenting cells such as macrophages or dendritic cells. The accumulation of inflammatory cells within the arterial wall leads to local production of chemokines, interleukins and proteases that enhance the influx of monocytes and lymphocytes, thereby promoting the progression of atherosclerotic lesions Recent reports have helped explain some of these questions by pointing to a role of contact dependent interaction between CD40 and CD40 ligand (CD40L, renamed CD154) as a stimulus for atheroma-associated cells. Also Macrophages play important roles in the progression of atherosclerosis by exhibiting unique characteristics under the various stimuli, evolving the plaque instability, thrombus formation and remodeling. Macrophage recruitment by abnormal endothelium over developing atherosclerotic plaques, is aided by endothelial expression of adhesion molecules (ICAM-1, VCAM, ELAM). The knowledge of atherosclerosis as an inflammatory disease offers the opportunity to develop novel therapeutic strategies targeting the inflammatory component of the disease.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)4266-4288
Numero di pagine23
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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