Mechanisms and therapy of atherosclerosis and its clinical complications

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In 1913, exactly 100 years ago, Nikolai Nikolaevich Anichkov (1885–1964) and Semen Sergeevich Chalatov (1884–1951) discovered in St. Petersburg, Russia, that atherosclerosis of large arteries is critically dependent on cholesterol. The inflammatory nature of atherosclerosis was first observed and suggested by Rudolf Virchow in 1856. Today, we have orally active drugs at our disposition that not only lower cholesterol levels but also interfere with vascular inflammation and atherogenesis. The disease process is multifactorial and its development is accelerated by modifiable and given risk factors such as cigarette smoking, dyslipidemia, arterial hypertension, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, estrogen deficiency, chronic renal disease, genetic predisposition, and the physiological aging process, among others. The present issue of Current Opinion in Pharmacology features a collection of articles by clinicians and scientists — many of whom are world authorities in their field — on mechanisms, preventive measures, clinical complications, and treatment of coronary artery disease. This monograph provides a ‘2013 update’ on the pathogenesis, prevention, and therapy of atherosclerosis.

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