Vascular calcification is an age-dependent, common finding in human coronary arteries and begins as early as the second decade of life, just after fatty streak formation. Previous studies have showed that the severity of coronary calcification is closely related to atherosclerotic plaque burden and cardiac event rate. In the past few decades, coronary calcification has been considered passive and degenerative. With recent clinical and basic research, however, there is increasing recognition that coronary calcification is an active, regulated process. Current diagnostic methods for coronary artery calcification (CAC) are usually traditional coronary angiography, intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), electron beam computed tomography (EBCT) and multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT) while treatment for patients with calcified coronary arteries is troublesome. Several lines of evidence suggest that inflammation plays a major role in the development of atherosclerosis as well as its clinical manifestations. Recent study showed that inflammatory process might be also involved in coronary calcification. Accordingly, measurements of inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP) may in part reflect indices of atherosclerosis, such as coronary calcification, and are likely to provide distinct information regarding cardiovascular risk. In this article, we review the current evidence of relationship between coronary calcification and inflammation for purpose of drawing the more attention on the inflammatory mechanism of coronary calcification, which may change our research as well as therapeutic strategies for coronary calcification in the future. (copyright) 2007.
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