Inflammation, Atherosclerosis, and Psoriasis
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Increasing evidence supports an important role for inflammation in all phases of atherosclerosis, from initiation of the fatty streak to final culmination in acute coronary syndromes. Numerous inflammatory biomarkers including cell adhesion molecules, cytokines, chemokines, and acute-phase reactants such as fibrinogen, serum amyloid A, and C-reactive protein (CRP) have been shown to predict cardiovascular (CVD) events. Several prospective studies have shown a consistent and robust relationship between levels of high-sensitivity CRP and the risk of future CVD events. Toll-like receptors are pattern recognition receptors and members of the innate immune system that contribute to inflammation and appear to play key roles in atherosclerosis. Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 may also be an independent CVD risk factor. Psoriasis has been associated with an increasing risk for atherosclerosis, including coronary artery disease and stroke. Patients with psoriasis have a 5-year shorter life expectancy, most frequently due to CVD. Psoriasis is associated with a chronic inflammatory state and with elevated levels of CRP and other inflammatory cytokines and these may play a causative role in the increased risk of psoriatic patients for CVD. Patients with psoriasis may represent an emerging risk population and patients with moderate to severe psoriasis should be screened and aggressively treated for CVD risk factors.