Cardiac and vascular diseases are often associated with increased oxidative stress and inflammation,
and both may contribute to the disease progression. However, successful applications of antioxidants in the clinical
setting are very rare and specific anti-inflammatory therapeutics only emerged recently. Reasons for this rely
on the great diversity of oxidative stress and inflammatory cells that can either act as cardioprotective or
cause tissue damage in the heart. Recent large-scale clinical trials found that highly specific anti-inflammatory
therapies using monoclonal antibodies against cytokines resulted in lower cardiovascular mortality in patients
with pre-existing atherosclerotic disease. In addition, unspecific antiinflammatory medication and established
cardiovascular drugs with pleiotropic immunomodulatory properties such as angiotensin converting enzyme
(ACE) inhibitors or statins have proven beneficial cardiovascular effects. Normalization of oxidative stress
seems to be a common feature of these therapies, which can be explained by a close interaction/crosstalk of the
cellular redox state and inflammatory processes. In this review, we give an overview of cardiac reactive oxygen
species (ROS) sources and processes of cardiac inflammation as well as the connection of ROS and inflammation
in ischemic cardiomyopathy in order to shed light on possible cardioprotective interventions.
Keywords: Cardiac disease, inflammation, oxidative stress, anti-inflammatory therapy, acute myocardial infarction, cardiac remodeling, cardioprotection.
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