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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 12, Issue 3, Pages 225-234
Review Article

Defects in Regulation of Local Immune Responses Resulting in Atherosclerosis

1Institute of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, Sasinkova 4, Bratislava 811 08, Slovakia
2Institute of Neuroimmunology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Sasinkova 4, Bratislava 811 08, Slovakia
3Clinic of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia
4Institute of Pathophysiology, Faculty of Medicine Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


Atherosclerosis is nowadays generally accepted as an inflammatory disease but the mechanism of its origin and development have not yet been fully clarified. The present review focuses on the role of the local immune system as one of the key players in the pathogenesis of the complex process. Its part represented by vascular-associated lymphoid tissue (VALT) within the arterial wall participates directly in the vascular wall's homeostatis. Its inordinate activation during ontogenic development of an individual, this formerly defensive and physiologic mechanism transform into a pathological process resulting in an impairing inflammation. Hsp60, CRP and oxidized or otherwise modified LDL are serious candidates for triggering these pathological changes. The principal role is played by anti-Hsp60 antibodies and by shear stress originating on the surface of endothelium due to blood flow. The experimental and clinical data supporting this immunological hypothesis of atherosclerosis are discussed.