Prof. Johannes Waltenberger,
White blood cells are a major component of the atherosclerotic process. Accumulating evidence for this concept was strongly supported by novel data presented in the STATE-OF-THE-ART session on Monday afternoon during the 2011 ESC congress in Paris. The session was chaired by Prof. Johannes Waltenberger from Muenster, Germany, and by Prof. Peter Libby from Boston, USA. Specifically targeting macrophages and removing them from the atherogenic process represents a promising strategy. Dr Furusho from Japan showed data where folate receptor-beta expressing macrophages are being targeted in a mouse model of atherosclerosis, which resulted in a reduction of these cells within the atherosclerotic plaques which in turn led to reduced atherosclerotic burden of the animals. The discussion of this paper made it clear that it may be a long time before such a concept may be in clinical use; however, the initial data are encouraging. Other immune cells of interest for the atherosclerosis field are T cells. Dr Ammirati from Milan, Italy, presented novel data on efector memory T cells in patients as well as in mice. Dr. Pellegrin from Lausanne, Switzerland, reported on his findings related to the role of CD4 T cells in atheroclerosis and their possible contribution to plaque vulnerability. In his STATE-OF-THE-ART lecture, Prof. Peter Libby elegantly summarised the concept of immune cells in atherosclerosis by referring to the experimental milestones during the past 30 years. He also presented parts of the protocol of a clinical trial to test whether specific immune modulation may be capable of reducing the incidence of cardiovascular events in patients at risk for atherosclerosis.
State of the Art - Leucocytes and macrophages in Atherosclerosis: fuel for the fire
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