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Cholesterol
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 571846, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/571846
Review Article

Immune Response to Lipoproteins in Atherosclerosis

1Department of Molecular Immunology, Thrombosis Research Institute, Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital, 258/A, Bommasandra Industrial Area, Bangalore 560099, India
2Scientific Chairman, Thrombosis Research Institute, London, UK

Received 4 June 2012; Accepted 24 July 2012

Academic Editor: Michael Ibrahim

Copyright © 2012 Sonia Samson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of cardiovascular disease, is characterized by chronic inflammation and altered immune response. Cholesterol is a well-known risk factor associated with the development of cardiovascular diseases. Elevated serum cholesterol is unique because it can lead to development of atherosclerosis in animals and humans even in the absence of other risk factors. Modifications of low-density lipoproteins mediated by oxidation, enzymatic degradation, and aggregation result in changes in their function and activate both innate and adaptive immune system. Oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) has been identified as one of the most important autoantigens in atherosclerosis. This escape from self-tolerance is dependent on the formation of oxidized phospholipids. The emerging understanding of the importance of immune responses against oxidized LDL in atherosclerosis has focused attention on the possibility of development of novel therapy for atherosclerosis. This review provides an overview of immune response to lipoproteins and the fascinating possibility of developing an immunomodulatory therapy for atherosclerosis.