Vasa Vasorum Angiogenesis: Key Player in the Initiation and Progression of Atherosclerosis and Potential Target for the Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease

Daniel G. Sedding*, Erin C. Boyle, Jasper A. F. Demandt, Judith C. Sluimer, Jochen Dutzmann, Axel Haverich, Johann Bauersachs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

101 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Plaque microvascularization and increased endothelial permeability are key players in the development of atherosclerosis, from the initial stages of plaque formation to the occurrence of acute cardiovascular events. First, endothelial dysfunction and increased permeability facilitate the entry of diverse inflammation-triggering molecules and particles such as low-density lipoproteins into the artery wall from the arterial lumen and vasa vasorum (VV). Recognition of entering particles by resident phagocytes in the vessel wall triggers a maladaptive inflammatory response that initiates the process of local plaque formation. The recruitment and accumulation of inflammatory cells and the subsequent release of several cytokines, especially from resident macrophages, stimulate the expansion of existing VV and the formation of new highly permeable microvessels. This, in turn, exacerbates the deposition of pro-inflammatory particles and results in the recruitment of even more inflammatory cells. The progressive accumulation of leukocytes in the intima, which trigger proliferation of smooth muscle cells in the media, results in vessel wall thickening and hypoxia, which further stimulates neoangiogenesis of VV. Ultimately, this highly inflammatory environment damages the fragile plaque microvasculature leading to intraplaque hemorrhage, plaque instability, and eventually, acute cardiovascular events. This review will focus on the pivotal roles of endothelial permeability, neoangiogenesis, and plaque microvascularization by VV during plaque initiation, progression, and rupture. Special emphasis will be given to the underlying molecular mechanisms and potential therapeutic strategies to selectively target these processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number706
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2018

Keywords

  • atherosclerosis
  • inflammation
  • vasa vasorum
  • plaque angiogenesis
  • unstable plaque
  • ENDOTHELIAL GROWTH-FACTOR
  • CELL-ADHESION MOLECULE-1
  • GREAT SAPHENOUS-VEIN
  • DOUBLE KNOCKOUT MICE
  • E-DEFICIENT MICE
  • PLAQUE PROGRESSION
  • EXPERIMENTAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLEMIA
  • MACROPHAGE ACCUMULATION
  • INTRAPLAQUE HEMORRHAGE
  • CORONARY-ARTERIES

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