Elisa Araldi, Aranzazu Chamorro-Jorganes, Coen van Solingen, Carlos Fernandez-Hernando and Yajaira Suarez Pages 291 - 304 ( 14 )
Atherosclerosis (also known as arteriosclerotic vascular disease) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the arterial wall, characterized by the formation of lipid-laden lesions. The activation of endothelial cells at atherosclerotic lesion–prone sites in the arterial tree results in the up-regulation of cell adhesion molecules and chemokines, which mediate the recruitment of circulating monocytes. Accumulation of monocytes and monocyte-derived phagocytes in the wall of large arteries leads to chronic inflammation and the development and progression of atherosclerosis. The lesion experiences the following steps: foam cell formation, fatty streak accumulation, migration and proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells, and fibrous cap formation. Finally, the rupture of the unstable fibrous cap causes thrombosis in complications of advanced lesions that leads to unstable coronary syndromes, myocardial infarction and stroke. MicroRNAs have recently emerged as a novel class of gene regulators at the post-transcriptional level. Several functions of vascular cells, such as cell differentiation, contraction, migration, proliferation and inflammation that are involved in angiogenesis, neointimal formation and lipid metabolism underlying various vascular diseases, have been found to be regulated by microRNAs and are described in the present review as well as their potential therapeutic application.
Atherosclerosis, endothelial cell, macrophage, microRNA, vascular smooth muscle cell.
Carlos Fernandez-Hernando, Ph.D, New York University School of Medicine, 522 First Avenue, Smilow 703, New York, NY 10016.