Circadian Control of Inflammatory Processes in Atherosclerosis and Its Complications

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Physiological cardiovascular functions show daily diurnal variations, which are synchronized by intrinsic molecular clocks and environment-driven cues. The clinical manifestation of cardiovascular disease also exhibits diurnal variation, with an increased incidence in the early morning. This coincides with circadian oscillations of circulating parameters, such as hormones and leukocyte counts. We are just at the beginning of understanding how circadian rhythms of immune functions are related to cardiovascular disease progression and outcome after an acute ischemic event. Here, we briefly summarize clinical data on oscillations of circulating inflammatory parameters, as well as experimental evidences for the role of circadian clocks in atherosclerosis, postmyocardial infarction inflammatory responses, and cardiac healing.

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