Dec 22, 2014

The dark and bright side of atherosclerotic calcification

Atherosclerosis
Giuseppe PuglieseStefano Menini

Abstract

Vascular calcification is an unfavorable event in the natural history of atherosclerosis that predicts cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. However, increasing evidence suggests that different calcification patterns are associated with different or even opposite histopathological and clinical features, reflecting the dual relationship between inflammation and calcification. In fact, initial calcium deposition in response to pro-inflammatory stimuli results in the formation of spotty or granular calcification ("microcalcification"), which induces further inflammation. This vicious cycle favors plaque rupture, unless an adaptive response prevails, with blunting of inflammation and survival of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). VSMCs promote fibrosis and also undergo osteogenic transdifferentiation, with formation of homogeneous or sheet-like calcification ("macrocalcification"), that stabilizes the plaque by serving as a barrier towards inflammation. Unfortunately, little is known about the molecular mechanisms regulating this adaptive response. The advanced glycation/lipoxidation endproducts (AGEs/ALEs) have been shown to promote vascular calcification and atherosclerosis. Recent evidence suggests that two AGE/ALE receptor...Continue Reading

  • References65
  • Citations32

Mentioned in this Paper

Muscle, Smooth, Vascular
Rupture
Diabetes Mellitus, Non-Insulin-Dependent
Biochemical Pathway
Familial HDL Deficiency
Calcium [EPC]
Vascular Inflammations
T-Lymphocyte
Exertion
Annexin A5

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