Immune Mechanisms in Atherosclerosis and Potential for Immunomodulatory Therapies

  • Gianluca GrassiaEmail author
  • Neil MacRitchie
  • Pasquale MaffiaEmail author


A considerable body of pre-clinical and clinical research data support a pivotal role played by immune-inflammatory responses in atherosclerosis formation and development. Recent clinical trial results confirm the feasibility of targeting immune pathways for the therapeutic control of the pathology. In this chapter, we discuss the key immune-inflammatory mechanisms involved in atherosclerosis development and progression and plaque destabilization. We discuss the anti-inflammatory pleiotropic effects of lipid-lowering drugs and potential therapeutic strategies for the direct control of vascular inflammation. Finally, we discuss vaccination approaches in atherosclerosis and critical questions that should be addressed in future investigations.


Atherosclerosis Canakinumab Inflammation Interleukin-1 Methotrexate Statins PCSK9 inhibitors Vaccination 



Our work was funded by the British Heart Foundation grants PG/12/81/29897 and RE/13/5/30177; the European Commission Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships 661,369; the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant EP/L014165/1; and the Tenovus Scotland PROJECT S15/24.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Immunobiology, Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life SciencesUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK
  2. 2.Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life SciencesUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK
  3. 3.Department of PharmacyUniversity of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly

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