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International Journal of Inflammation
Volume 2011, Article ID 514623, 9 pages
Review Article

Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Heart Disease: Do Antioxidants Have a Role in Treatment and/or Prevention?

1John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i, Honolulu, HI, USA
2Manoa Innovation Center, 2800 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA

Received 15 February 2011; Revised 26 April 2011; Accepted 20 June 2011

Academic Editor: Ichiro Manabe

Copyright © 2011 Fredric J. Pashkow. 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.


Inflammation triggered by oxidative stress is the cause of much, perhaps even most, chronic human disease including human aging. The oxidative stress originates mainly in mitochondria from reactive oxygen and reactive nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) and can be identified in most of the key steps in the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis and the consequential clinical manifestations of cardiovascular disease. In addition to the formation of atherosclerosis, it involves lipid metabolism, plaque rupture, thrombosis, myocardial injury, apoptosis, fibrosis and failure. The recognition of the critical importance of oxidative stress has led to the enthusiastic use of antioxidants in the treatment and prevention of heart disease, but the results of prospective, randomized clinical trials have been overall disappointing. Can this contradiction be explained and what are its implications for the discovery/development of future antioxidant therapeutics?