Innate immunity, macrophage activation, and atherosclerosis


Zhong-qun Yan
Center for Molecular Medicine L8:03
Karolinska Institute
Stockholm 17176
Tel.: + 46 8 51776222
Fax: +46 8 313147


Summary:  Inflammation underpins the development of atherosclerosis. Initiation and progression of vascular inflammation involves a complex cellular network, with macrophages as major contributors. Activated macrophages produce proinflammatory mediators, bridge innate and adaptive immunity, regulate lipid retention, and participate directly in vascular repair and remodeling. Recent efforts to elucidate molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of vascular inflammation in atherosclerosis have implicated several families of innate immune recognition receptors in inflammatory activation during the course of this disease. This article reviews our current understanding of innate immune recognition receptors, signaling pathways, and putative ligands implicated in activation of macrophages in the disease. In its final section, we propose a model for the role of macrophages in bridging inflammation and atherosclerosis from the perspective of innate immune recognition and activation.