Background: Over the last decades, the role of inflammation and immune system activation in the
initiation and progression of coronary artery disease (CAD) has been established.
Objectives: The study aimed to present the interplay between cytokines and their actions preceding and shortly
Methods: We searched in a systemic manner the most relevant articles to the topic of inflammation, cytokines,
vulnerable plaque and myocardial infarction in MEDLINE, COCHRANE and EMBASE databases.
Results: Different classes of cytokines (intereleukin [IL]-1 family, Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) family,
chemokines, adipokines, interferons) are implicated in the entire process leading to destabilization of the atherosclerotic
plaque, and consequently, to the incidence of myocardial infarction. Especially IL-1 and TNF-α family
are involved in inflammatory cell accumulation, vulnerable plaque formation, platelet aggregation, cardiomyocyte
apoptosis and adverse remodeling following the myocardial infarction. Several cytokines such as IL-6, adiponectin,
interferon-γ, appear with significant prognostic value in ACS patients. Thus, research interest focuses
on the modulation of inflammation in ACS to improve clinical outcomes.
Conclusion: Understanding the unique characteristics that accompany each cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction
could illuminate the signaling pathways involved in plaque destabilization and indicate future treatment
strategies to improve cardiovascular prognosis in ACS patients.