Potential of anti-inflammatory agents for treatment of atherosclerosis
Chronic inflammation is a central pathogenic mechanism of atherosclerosis induction and progression. Vascular inflammation is associated with accelerated onset of late atherosclerosis complications. Atherosclerosis-related inflammation is mediated by a complex cocktail of pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, bioactive lipids, and adhesion molecules, and blocking the key pro-atherogenic inflammatory mechanisms can be beneficial for treatment of atherosclerosis. Therapeutic agents that specifically target some of the atherosclerosis-related inflammatory mechanisms have been evaluated in preclinical and clinical studies. The most promising anti-inflammatory compounds for treatment of atherosclerosis include non-specific anti-inflammatory drugs, phospholipase inhibitors, blockers of major inflammatory cytokines, leukotrienes, adhesion molecules, and pro inflammatory signaling pathways, such as CCL2-CCR2 axis or p38 MAPK pathway. Ongoing studies attempt evaluating therapeutic utility of these anti-inflammatory drugs for treatment of atherosclerosis. The obtained results are important for our understanding of atherosclerosis-related inflammatory mechanisms and for designing randomized controlled studies assessing the effect of specific anti-inflammatory strategies on cardiovascular outcomes.