Inflammation plays a crucial role in atherosclerosis, and cholesterol crystals is a candidate trigger early in the development of the disease. CEMIR scientists have recently published an article in Journal of Immunology that describes how cholesterol crystals employ the complement system to induce cytokines and activate the inflammasome/caspase-1 by regulating several cellular responses in human monocytes.
Targeted inhibition of inflammation to reduce cardiovascular events is currently being tested in large scale clinical trials. These findings may provide additional targets for immune modulation.
Eivind O. Samstad, Nathalie Niyonzima, Stig Nymo, Marie H. Aune, Liv Ryan, Siril S. Bakke, Knut T. Lappegård, Ole-Lars Brekke, John D. Lambris, Jan K. Damås, Eicke Latz, Tom E. Mollnes, Terje Espevik. Cholesterol Crystals Induce Complement-Dependent Inflammasome Activation and Cytokine Release. Journal of Immunology (Published online before print February 19, 2014)