Chemokines and their receptors in Atherosclerosis

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Atherosclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disease of the medium- and large-sized arteries, is the main underlying cause of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) most often leading to a myocardial infarction or stroke. However, atherosclerosis can also develop without this clinical manifestation. The pathophysiology of atherosclerosis is very complex and consists of many cells and molecules interacting with each other. Over the last years, chemokines (small 8–12 kDa cytokines with chemotactic properties) have been identified as key players in atherogenesis. However, this remains a very active and dynamic field of research. Here, we will give an overview of the current knowledge about the involvement of chemokines in all phases of atherosclerotic lesion development. Furthermore, we will focus on two chemokines that recently have been associated with atherogenesis, CXCL12, and macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF). Both chemokines play a crucial role in leukocyte recruitment and arrest, a critical step in atherosclerosis development. MIF has shown to be a more pro-inflammatory and thus pro-atherogenic chemokine, instead CXCL12 seems to have a more protective function. However, results about this protective role are still quite debatable. Future research will further elucidate the precise role of these chemokines in atherosclerosis and determine the potential of chemokine-based therapies.




van der Vorst, E. P. C., Döring, Y., & Weber, C. (2015, September 26). Chemokines and their receptors in Atherosclerosis. Journal of Molecular Medicine. Springer Verlag.

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