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Vaccination Strategies and Immune Modulation of Atherosclerosis

  • Jan Nilsson
  • Göran K. Hansson
Publishing year: 2020-04-24
Language: English
Pages: 1281-1296
Publication/Series: Circulation Research
Volume: 126
Issue: 9
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: American Heart Association

Abstract english

Adaptive as well as innate immune responses contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. Studies performed in experimental animals have revealed that some of these immune responses are protective while others contribute to the progression of disease. These observations suggest that it may be possible to develop novel therapies for cardiovascular disease by selectively modulating such atheroprotective and proatherogenic immunity. Recent advances in cancer treatment using immune check inhibitors and CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell therapy serve as excellent examples of the possibilities of targeting the immune system to combat disease. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) that has accumulated in the artery wall is a key autoantigen in atherosclerosis, and activation of antigen-specific T helper 1-type T cells is thought to fuel plaque inflammation. Studies aiming to prove this concept by immunizing experimental animals with oxidized LDL particles unexpectedly resulted in activation of atheroprotective immunity involving regulatory T cells. This prompted several research groups to try to develop vaccines against atherosclerosis. In this review, we will discuss the experimental and clinical data supporting the possibility of developing immune-based therapies for lowering cardiovascular risk. We will also summarize ongoing clinical studies and discuss the challenges associated with developing an effective and safe atherosclerosis vaccine.


  • Immunology in the medical area
  • antibodies
  • atherosclerosis
  • cardiovascular disease
  • inflammation
  • vaccine


  • Cardiovascular Research - Immunity and Atherosclerosis
  • ISSN: 0009-7330
E-mail: jan [dot] nilsson [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

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