This article was originally published here
Int Rev Immunol. 2021 Jan 13:1-19. doi: 10.1080/08830185.2020.1866568. Online ahead of print.
Vascular endothelial dysfunction (ED) forms the cornerstone in the development of atherosclerotic lesions that clinically manifest as ischemia, myocardial infarction, stroke or peripheral arterial disease. ED can be triggered by various risk factors including hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, hyperhomocystenemia and chronic low-grade inflammation. These risk factors also activate immune response systemically. Current drugs used for managing atherosclerosis not only aid in subsiding the risk factor but also suppress the immune activation. Nonetheless, their effectiveness in treating ED is still questionable. Here, we discuss how pathologic molecules and processes pertaining to ED can activate innate and adaptive arms of the immune system leading to disease progression even in the absence of cardiovascular risk factors and the potential of the current drugs, used in the management of atherosclerotic patients, in reversing them. We mainly focus on activated endothelium, endothelial microparticles, mechanically stretched endothelial cells, endothelial mesenchymal transition and endothelial glycocalyx sheds.