Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory reaction that is initiated in response to hyperlipidemia and the retention and modification of lipids within the vascular wall. Chronic inflammatory states lead to steady low-level induction of the acute phase reaction and chronic inflammation is associated with elevated cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis. The acute phase reaction is mediated by cytokines and results in significant changes in the plasma level of several proteins referred to as acute phase proteins. The liver is a major source of these proteins. Several recent studies in humans have shown that levels of acute phase proteins are modified in patients with established cardiovascular disease or are predictors of future disease. Whether these acute phase proteins are a biomarker of inflammation or have a direct role in the development of atherosclerosis is not clear. Murine models of atherosclerosis have been used to address the role of acute phase proteins in atherosclerosis. Modification of the expression level of these proteins has shown that the individual acute phase proteins are either pro-atherogenic or anti-atherogenic. The absence of an overall trend is perhaps not surprising given the complex nature of the acute phase response.
Keywords: Mouse, atherosclerosis, acute phase proteins, acute phase cytokines, inflammation
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