Multiple Roles for Neutrophils in Atherosclerosis

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Abstract

Because of their rare detection in atherosclerotic lesions, the involvement of neutrophils in the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis has been largely denied. However, over the past couple of years, studies have provided convincing evidence for the presence of neutrophils in atherosclerotic plaques and further revealed the causal contribution of neutrophils during various stages of atherosclerosis. This review describes mechanisms underlying hyperlipidemia-mediated neutrophilia and how neutrophils may enter atherosclerotic lesions. It also highlights possible mechanisms of neutrophil-driven atherogenesis and plaque destabilization. Knowledge of the contribution of neutrophils to atherosclerosis will allow for exploration of new avenues in the treatment of atherogenesis and atherothrombosis.

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