Author(s): Spagnoli LG, Bonanno E, Sangiorgi G, Mauriello A
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Abstract Inflammation plays a major role in all phases of atherosclerosis. Stable plaques are characterized by a chronic inflammatory infiltrate, whereas vulnerable and ruptured plaques are characterized by an "active" inflammation involved in the thinning of the fibrous cap, predisposing the plaque to rupture. Although a single vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque rupture may cause the event, there are many other types of plaques, several of which are vulnerable. The existence of multiple types of vulnerable plaques suggests that atherosclerosis is a diffuse inflammatory process. A current challenge is to identify morphologic and molecular markers able to discriminate stable plaques from vulnerable ones, allowing the stratification of patients at high risk for acute cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events before clinical syndromes develop. With that aim in mind, this article summarizes the natural history of atherosclerotic plaques, focusing on molecular mechanisms affecting plaque progression and serum markers correlated with plaque inflammation.
This article was published in J Nucl Med
and referenced in Journal of Metabolic Syndrome