Atherosclerosis is a chronic vascular disease in which atherosclerotic plaques develop
in the arterial wall. It is believed that inflammation plays a major role in atherosclerotic
formation and progression. Thus, atherosclerosis can be considered as an inflammatory disease
of the arterial vessel. Mouse model demonstrated that T and B cell deficiency reduces the atherosclerotic
burden in the formation of an atherosclerotic lesion. CD4+ T helper cells (Th), such
as Th1 cells known being the major CD4+ T cell subtype found in mouse models of atherogenesis,
increase plaque formation caused by oxLDL. IL-17 (also known as IL-17A) was produced
by T cells or by a unique subset of T helper cells. IL-17-producing T cells express interferon-
gamma (IFN-γ), an important regulator of immune function, which is highly expressed
in atherosclerotic lesions, defying their neat characteristics as Th17 cells. Regulation of Th17
signal pathway may play a significant role in the pathogenesis of multiple inflammatory and
autoimmune disorders, such as atherosclerosis. In this review, the structural features of IL-17
family and their roles involved in atherosclerosis are described.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis, plaques, mouse model, IL-17, lipoproteins, immune function, Th17 cells.
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