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Metabolic syndrome: the danger signal in atherosclerosis

Authors Patrick Mathieu, Philippe Pibarot, Jean-Pierre Després

Published 15 September 2006 Volume 2006:2(3) Pages 285—302


Patrick Mathieu1, Philippe Pibarot2, Jean-Pierre Després3

1Department of Surgery, Centre de Recherche de l’Hôpital Laval/Institut de Cardiologie de Québec, Québec, Canada; 2Department of Medicine, Centre de Recherche de l’Hôpital Laval/Institut de Cardiologie de Québec, Québec, Canada; 3Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Centre de Recherche de l’Hôpital Laval/Institut de Cardiologie de Québec, Québec, Canada

Abstract: Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by infiltration of blood vessels by lipids and leukocytes. There is a growing body of evidence that among risk factors that promote atherosclerosis, the metabolic syndrome is a powerful and prevalent predictor of cardiovascular events. The systemic inflammatory process associated with the metabolic syndrome has numerous deleterious effects that promote plaque activation, which is responsible for clinical events. Interactions between the innate immune system with lipidderived products seem to play a major role in the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis in relation with the metabolic syndrome. The multiple links among adipose tissue, the vascular wall, and the immune system are the topics of this review, which examines the roles of oxidized low density lipoprotein, inflammatory cytokines, and adipokines in triggering and perpetuating a danger signal response that promotes the development of atherosclerosis. Furthermore, therapeutic options that specifically target the metabolic syndrome components are reviewed in light of recent developments.

Keywords: atherosclerosis, inflammation, metabolic syndrome, innate immune system, danger signal theory

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