Cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) are transmembrane proteins that mediate adhesion and interactions between cells or cell and extra-cellular matrix. Increased expression and activation of CAMs in vascular endothelial cells and circulating leukocytes, as occurring in the settings of inflammation, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension and diabetes, stimulates leukocyte recruitment into the vascular endothelium, an important step in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. CAMs are a potential therapeutic target in clinical practice and in recent years pharmaceutical agents with specific effects on the production and function of these molecules have been studied and developed. This article reviews recent progress regarding pathophysiology of CAMs in atherogenesis and pharmaceutical products or chemicals that are active against CAMs, and assesses the possibilities for clinical developments in this area that might enhance the prevention, monitoring and treatment of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis, cell adhesion molecules, leukocyte recruitment, vascular endothelium, pharmaceutical therapy, glycoproteins, in vitro, aortic, leukocytes, transmembrane
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