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Alexey V Churov, Yegor S Chegodaev, Victoria A Khotina, Vladimir P Ofitserov, Alexander N Orekhov

Life (Basel) . 2023 Sep 18;13(9):1931. doi: 10.3390/life13091931.


Atherosclerosis is an insidious vascular disease with an asymptomatic debut and development over decades. The aetiology and pathogenesis of atherosclerosis are not completely clear. However, chronic inflammation and autoimmune reactions play a significant role in the natural course of atherosclerosis. The pathogenesis of atherosclerosis involves damage to the intima, immune cell recruitment and infiltration of cells such as monocytes/macrophages, neutrophils, and lymphocytes into the inner layer of vessel walls, and the accumulation of lipids, leading to vascular inflammation. The recruited immune cells mainly have a pro-atherogenic effect, whereas CD4+ regulatory T (Treg) cells are another heterogeneous group of cells with opposite functions that suppress the pathogenic immune responses. Present in low numbers in atherosclerotic plaques, Tregs serve a protective role, maintaining immune homeostasis and tolerance by suppressing pro-inflammatory immune cell subsets. Compelling experimental data suggest that various Treg cell-based approaches may be important in the treatment of atherosclerosis. Here we highlight the most recent advances in our understanding of the roles of FOXP3-expressing CD4+ Treg cells in the atherogenic process and discuss potential translational strategies for the treatment of atherosclerosis by Treg manipulation.


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