Drugs

, Volume 64, Supplement 2, pp 19–41

Lipaemia, Inflammation and Atherosclerosis: Novel Opportunities in the Understanding and Treatment of Atherosclerosis

  • Antonie J. H. H. M. van Oostrom
  • Jeroen P. H. van Wijk
  • Manuel Castro Cabezas
Review Article

Abstract

Atherosclerosis is the major cause of death in the world. Fasting and postprandial hyperlipidaemia are important risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD). Recent developments have undoubtedly indicated that inflammation is pathophysiologically closely linked to atherogenesis and its clinical consequences. Inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP), leucocyte count and complement component 3 (C3) have been linked to CHD and to hyperlipidaemia and several other CHD risk factors. Increases in these markers may result from activation of endothelial cells (CRP, leucocytes, C3), disturbances in adipose tissue fatty acid metabolism (CRP, C3), or from direct effects of CHD risk factors (leucocytes). It has been shown that lipoproteins, triglycerides, fatty acids and glucose can activate endothelial cells, most probably as a result of the production of reactive oxygen species. Similar mechanisms may also lead to leucocyte activation. Increases in triglycerides, fatty acids and glucose are common disturbances in the metabolic syndrome and are most prominent in the postprandial phase. People are in a postprandial state most of the day, and this phase is proatherogenic. Inhibition of the activation of leucocytes, endothelial cells, or both, is an interesting target for intervention, as activation is obligatory for adherence of leucocytes to the endothelium, thereby initiating atherogenesis. Potential interventions include the use of unsaturated long-chain fatty acids, polyphenols, antioxidants, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and high-dose aspirin, which have direct anti-inflammatory and antiatherogenic effects. Furthermore, peroxisome proliferator activating receptor gamma (PPARγ) agonists and statins have similar properties, which are in part independent of their lipid-lowering effects.

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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonie J. H. H. M. van Oostrom
    • 1
  • Jeroen P. H. van Wijk
    • 1
  • Manuel Castro Cabezas
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology F02.126University Medical Center UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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