Pavel Poredos and Mateja K. Jezovnik Pages 534 - 546 ( 13 )
The estimation of risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular (CV) events based only on the presence of classical risk factors is often insufficient. Therefore, efforts have been made to find markers that indicate the presence of preclinical or clinical disease. Inflammation mediates all stages of the disease, from initiation to the thrombotic complications of atherosclerosis. Raised levels of several circulating markers, particularly inflammatory mediators, have been reported in subjects with atherosclerosis. Increased risk for CV events is associated with increased levels of cytokines, celladhesion molecules, P-selectin and E-selectin, and acute phase reactants, such a highsensitivity C-reactive protein and serum amyloid-A. Elevation of some of these markers predicts the outcomes of patients with acute coronary syndromes. However, because of their non-specificity, these biomarkers represent only a moderate added predicting value after considering conventional CV risk factors. Consequently, recent research has focused on the detection of vulnerable plaque, using vascular bed-specific biomarkers that can help identify individuals at highest risk and help guide how to intervene to prevent CV events.
Considerable progress in the understanding of the role of the inflammation in atherogenesis has opened new possibilities for the management of atherosclerosis. Recently new drugs mediating the direct inhibition of circulating markers of inflammation were developed. These drugs could provide a novel therapeutic approach and further enhance the understanding of the role of inflammation in atherosclerosis.
Inflammatory mediators, markers of plaque stability, indicators of endothelial dysfunction, therapeutic targets, inhibitors, risk reduction.
Department of Vascular Disease, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Zalo ka cesta 7, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.