Inflammation and cardiac outcome

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Purpose of reviewInflammation is a key component in cardiovascular disease. Controlling inflammatory events and their subsequent processes holds the potential for novel therapeutic treatment options. Cytokines are the propagators of inflammation. In this review we will discuss important cytokines including IL-6, TNF-α, MCP-1, fractalkine, M-CSF and GDF-15, and their effect on cardiac outcome.Recent findingsRecent studies have shed light on the role of IL-6 in cardiovascular disease. Long-term IL-6 levels are highly associated with coronary heart disease. Molecular studies indicate that a permanent prolongation of STAT signaling in cardiac myocytes might be a potential reason for the detrimental effects of IL-6. TNF-α was long considered to have detrimental effects on myocardial function but recent studies show cardioprotective mechanisms for TNF-α. Macrophage modulating cytokines emerge as interesting molecular targets to treat cardiovascular disease. Especially, the two different subtypes of monocytes, a pro-inflammatory and a reparative subset, and their different chemotactic properties might be possible drug targets. Finally, we discuss GDF-15, which emerges as a novel biomarker in cardiovascular disease reflecting information from several pathological pathways.SummaryCytokines are the main proximal mediators of inflammation and hold the potential of being good molecular targets for novel treatment regimes. Cytokines might be valuable biomarkers, adding information about the pathologic pathways in cardiovascular disease.

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