Inflammatory Biomarkers for Cardiovascular Risk Stratification in Familial Hypercholesterolemia

Afsane Bahrami, Luca Liberale, Željko Reiner, Federico Carbone, Fabrizio Montecucco, Amirhossein Sahebkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a frequent autosomal genetic disease characterized by elevated concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) from birth with increased risk of premature atherosclerotic complications. Accumulating evidence has shown enhanced inflammation in patients with FH. In vessels, the deposition of modified cholesterol lipoproteins triggers local inflammation. Then, inflammation facilitates fatty streak formation by activating the endothelium to produce chemokines and adhesion molecules. This process eventually results in the uptake of vascular oxidized LDL (OxLDL) by scavenger receptors in monocyte-derived macrophages and formation of foam cells. Further leukocyte recruitment into the sub-endothelial space leads to plaque progression and activation of smooth muscle cells proliferation. Several inflammatory biomarkers have been reported in this setting which can be directly synthetized by activated inflammatory/vascular cells or can be indirectly produced by organs other than vessels, e.g., liver. Of note, inflammation is boosted in FH patients. Inflammatory biomarkers might improve the risk stratification for coronary heart disease and predict atherosclerotic events in FH patients. This review aims at summarizing the current knowledge about the role of inflammation in FH and the potential application of inflammatory biomarkers for cardiovascular risk estimation in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-52
Number of pages28
JournalReviews of physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Cardiovascular risk
  • CRP
  • Familial hypercholesterolemia, inflammation
  • Markers
  • Oxidized LDL
  • TNF-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology (medical)


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