CiteWeb id: 20090000036

CiteWeb score: 6978

DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra043430

ecent research has shown that inflammation plays a key role in coronary artery disease (CAD) and other manifestations of atherosclerosis. Immune cells dominate early atherosclerotic lesions, their effector molecules accelerate progression of the lesions, and activation of inflammation can elicit acute coronary syndromes. This review highlights the role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of atherosclerotic CAD. It will recount the evidence that atherosclerosis, the main cause of CAD, is an inflammatory disease in which immune mechanisms interact with metabolic risk factors to initiate, propagate, and activate lesions in the arterial tree. A decade ago, the treatment of hypercholesterolemia and hypertension was expected to eliminate CAD by the end of the 20th century. Lately, however, that optimistic prediction has needed revision. Cardiovascular diseases are expected to be the main cause of death globally within the next 15 years owing to a rapidly increasing prevalence in developing countries and eastern Europe and the rising incidence of obesity and diabetes in the Western world. 1 Cardiovascular diseases cause 38 percent of all deaths in North America and are the most common cause of death in European men under 65 years of age and the second most common cause in women. These facts force us to revisit cardiovascular disease and consider new strategies for prediction, prevention, and treatment.

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