Inflammation and atherosclerosis: mechanisms underlying vulnerable plaque.
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Introduction Atherosclerosis belongs to the chronic diseases with the highest mortality in the Western world. While the disease has traditionally been explained by risk factors like high cholesterol and hypertension, evidence is now accumulating for a role of the immune system in the progression of atherosclerosis. This article will explore the role of innate and adaptive immunity in atherosclerosis only. It does not aim at describing all facets of the immune system. In order to facilitate the reading of the article the pathophysiology of the immune system in atherosclerosis is preceded by the relevant physiology.
- Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
- Antigen-Presenting Cells/immunology
- Dendritic Cells/physiology
- Immunity, Innate/physiology
- Lymphocyte Activation/physiology
- Macrophage Activation/physiology