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Volume 7, Pages 1422-1439
Review Article

Leukotriene Receptors: Crucial Components in Vascular Inflammation

Department of Cardiology Center for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital, L8:03, 171 76 Stockholm, Sweden

Received 22 January 2007; Revised 18 June 2007; Accepted 2 July 2007

Academic Editor: Charles Brink

Copyright © 2007 Magnus Bäck.


The accumulation of immune cells during vascular inflammation leads to formation of leukotrienes (LTs). While macrophages represent a major source of LT biosynthesis in the proximity of the vascular wall, activated T lymphocytes may, in addition, play a key regulatory role on macrophage expression of LT-forming enzymes. Within the vascular wall, LTs activate cell surface receptors of the BLT and CysLT subtypes expressed on vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cells. The LT receptor expression on those cells is highly dependent on transcriptional regulation by pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators. LT receptor activation on vascular smooth muscle cells is associated with both directly and indirectly induced vasoconstriction, as well as intimal hyperplasia through stimulation of migration and proliferation. On the other hand, endothelial LT receptors induce vasorelaxation and leukocyte recruitment and adhesion. Results from in vitro and in vivo studies of LT receptor antagonists indicate potential beneficial effects in atherosclerosis and other inflammatory cardiovascular diseases.