Trained innate immunity and atherosclerosis

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Purpose of reviewMonocytes/macrophages play a decisive role in the development and progression of atherosclerosis. It is currently unknown what stimuli initiate and orchestrate the activation of these cells in atherogenesis. In this review, we postulate that the novel concept of ‘trained immunity’ modulates the development and progression of atherosclerosis.Recent findingsRecently, results from our laboratory challenged the current paradigm that innate immunity is static and does not have an immunological memory. Stimulation by various microbial products, including Candida albicans and bacille Calmette-Guérin, appeared to bring monocytes into a long-term enhanced functional state, showing a stronger proinflammatory response to a second stimulus. This ‘trained immunity’ was mediated by increased and stable histone methylation.SummaryWe describe the hypothesis that this functional reprogramming of monocytes, either by microbial products or by metabolic products, contributes to atherogenesis and propose epigenetic reprogramming of monocytes as a novel pharmacological target for preventing or treating atherosclerosis in the future.

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