Platelet activation, inflammatory mediators and hypercholesterolemia.

Patrizia Ferroni, Stefania Basili, Giovanni Davi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Atherogenic cofactors, such as altered cholesterol metabolism, may impact locally on inflammatory responses in atherosclerotic lesions. Blood levels of inflammatory markers (e.g., C-reactive protein, fibrinogen) have been associated with hypercholesterolemia and with overt atherothrombotic disorders. More recently. cytokines (e.g., interleukin-6, interleukin-1beta) and soluble adhesion molecules (e.g., selectins, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1) have been associated with both hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerotic disease, suggesting their use as potential therapeutic targets for the non-specific "anti-inflammatory" treatment of atherosclerosis. The inflammatory response associated with hypercholesterolemia involves not only the intrinsic cells of the artery wall. but also circulating cells. Platelets participate in this disease process through the release of a wide variety of biologically active substances. An imbalance of the hemostatic system and persistent in vivo platelet activation can be observed in hypercholesterolemia and may have pathophysiological implications in the development and progression of atherosclerotic plaques. Recent findings on the inflammatory actions of platelets have established the potential for a previously unrecognized biologic role for platelets in inflammation and vascular injury, and have opened new perspectives in the comprehension of the pathogenetic mechanism(s) of atherosclerosis. Stimulated platelets actively synthesize proinflammatory cytokines (e.g., CD40L, IL-1beta) and are able to release chemokines (i.e., platelet factor-4, RANTES) which have been all involved in the inflammatory process associated with hypercholesterolemia. This review will summarize the present understanding of the interplay between hypercholesterolemia, inflammation and platelet activation in the development and progression of atherosclerosis, and we also discuss the effects of lipid-lowering treatment on these phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-169
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Vascular Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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