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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Role of complement activation in atherosclerosis.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Atherosclerosis is characterized by a strong inflammatory component. One factor contributing to inflammation in the arterial intima is the complement system. Here we summarize recent progress in the field of complement research on atherogenesis. RECENT FINDINGS: The complement system is activated in human atherosclerotic lesions and is actively regulated by the local synthesis of complement components and of complement regulatory proteins. Potential triggers of complement activation in the arterial intima include immunocomplexes, C-reactive protein, modified lipoproteins, apoptotic cells, and cholesterol crystals. Complement activation releases anaphylatoxins, and anaphylatoxin receptors have been identified in human atherosclerotic lesions. However, experiments on genetically engineered mice with severe hyperlipidemia have been unable to show a major role for complement in experimental atherogenesis. SUMMARY: In humans there is extensive circumstantial evidence for a role of complement in atherosclerosis, which is somewhat contradictory to recent modest or negative findings in atherosclerosis-prone genetically engineered hyperlipidemic mice.[1]


  1. Role of complement activation in atherosclerosis. Oksjoki, R., Kovanen, P.T., Pentikäinen, M.O. Curr. Opin. Lipidol. (2003) [Pubmed]
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