To describe the background and assessment of inflammatory markers and endothelial function in atherosclerosis.
Recent observations have related several inflammation markers, including cytokines and chemokines, soluble adhesion molecules, and acute-phase reactants, to the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis. Chronic inflammatory states such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus have been identified as independent risk factors for early atherosclerosis. The role of endothelial function in atherosclerosis has been elucidated by clinical studies that have demonstrated that the status of vascular endothelium may modify the effects of risk factors on the development of atherosclerosis. These observations support the response-to-injury theory of atherosclerosis that emphasizes the role of endothelium in atherosclerosis.
Inflammation and endothelial function play significant roles in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Elevations in certain inflammatory mediators as well as evidence of endothelial dysfunction are related to increased risk of future cardiovascular morbidity. The value of measuring inflammatory markers and endothelial function in clinical practice remains to be defined.
aThe Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
bThe Department of Clinical Physiology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
cDepartment of Internal Medicine, Satakunta Central Hospital, Pori, Finland
Correspondence to Olli T. Raitakari, MD, PhD, Department of Clinical Physiology, PO Box 52, 20521 Turku, Finland Tel: +358 2 313 1828; fax: +358 2 313 1666; e-mail: email@example.com