Plaque & Virus-induced atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis often develops at branch points or curving portions along extracranial and intracranial large arteries, locations where blood flow is slowed and more turbulent. The internal carotid artery is particularly at risk.  Exactly where disease tends to occur, though, and how quickly it progresses apparently reflect the individual's genetic background. With time, such an accumulation can form an elevated plaque that protrudes into the vessel's lumen and significantly reduces blood flow. 

Viruses contribute to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis either via direct infection of vascular cells or via the indirect effects of cytokines or acute phase proteins induced by infection at non-vascular sites. There are now a large number of different infectious agents that are linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Atherosclerosis often develops at branch points or curving portions along extracranial and intracranial large arteries, locations where blood flow is slowed and more turbulent. The internal carotid artery is particularly at risk.  Exactly where disease tends to occur, though, and how quickly it progresses apparently reflect the individual's genetic background. With time, such an accumulation can form an elevated plaque that protrudes into the vessel's lumen and significantly reduces blood flow. 

Viruses contribute to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis either via direct infection of vascular cells or via the indirect effects of cytokines or acute phase proteins induced by infection at non-vascular sites. There are now a large number of different infectious agents that are linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Vulnerable Plaque - A vulnerable plaque is a kind of atheromatous plaque – a collection of white blood cells (primarily macrophages) and lipids (including cholesterol) in the wall of an artery, that is particularly unstable and prone to produce sudden major problems such as a heart attack or stroke. Generally an atheroma becomes vulnerable if it grows more rapidly and has a thin cover separating it from the bloodstream inside the arterial lumen.

Atheroma - An atheroma is an accumulation of degenerative material in the tunica intima (inner layer) of artery walls. The material consists of (mostly) macrophage cells, or debris, containing lipids (cholesterol and fatty acids), calcium and a variable amount of fibrous connective tissue.

Claudication – It refers to impairment in walking, or pain, discomfort or tiredness in the legs that occurs during walking and is relieved by rest. The word "claudication" comes from the Latin "claudicare" meaning to limp. Claudication is most common in the calves but it can also affect the feet, thighs, hips, buttocks, or arms.

Herpes virus-induced Atherosclerosis – The classic risk factors for atherosclerosis, namely, cigarette smoking, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and diabetes, account for only 50% of its incidence. Infectious agents have been suggested as additional risk factors; strong candidates are Chlamydia pneumoniae and herpes viruses. Herpes viruses have been proposed as potential initiators of arterial injury, endothelial dysfunction, and local inflammation, which might trigger or exacerbate atherosclerosis.

Cytomegalovirus and Atherosclerosis – Cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been associated with atherosclerosis in large seroepidemiologic studies of nontransplant recipients. In one longitudinal prospective study (the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities [ARIC] study), patients who developed elevated carotid intimal medial thickening had higher CMV antibody titers measured 13–18 years prior to onset of the carotid lesions, compared with matched control patients who did not develop carotid intimal-medial thickening. In the ARIC study, high CMV antibody titers also correlated to later onset of coronary heart disease.

  • Vulnerable Plaque
  • Claudication
  • Atheroma
  • Herpes Virus Induced Atherosclerosis
  • Cytomegalovirus Induced Atherosclerosis

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