Biological relevance of inflammation and oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of arterial diseases
Over the past three decades, age-adjusted rates of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality have fallen in the United States, but the prevalence of obesity and associated metabolic disorders has risen dramatically. Recent studies have begun to unravel the complex linkages between adipose and vascular tissues that may accelerate the development of atherosclerosis in the context of obesity. Experimental models indicate that inflammation and oxidative stress, which mutually amplify each other within the vasculature and in visceral fat, are key processes that drive the initiation, progression, and subsequent rupture of the atherosclerotic lesion. Emerging research is further elucidating the contributions made by chemokines and their receptors, adipokines, and miRNAs to arterial disease. Translation of these basic science findings to clinical applications represents a tantalizing possibility for reducing the global burden of obesity-associated atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases.