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Anastasia V Poznyak, Andrey V Grechko, Varvara A Orekhova, Victoria Khotina, Ekaterina A Ivanova, Alexander N Orekhov

Biomedicines. 2020 Jul 10;8(7):E206. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines8070206.


The current view on atherosclerosis positions it as a multifactorial disorder that results from the interplay between lipid metabolism disturbances and inflammatory processes. Oxidative stress is proven to be one of the initiating factors in atherosclerosis development, being implicated both in the inflammatory response and in atherogenic modifications of lipoproteins that facilitate lipid accumulation in the arterial wall. The hallmark of oxidative stress is the elevated level of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Correspondingly, the activity of major ROS-generating enzymes, including nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidases, xanthine oxidases, and cyclooxygenases, is an important element in atherosclerosis development. In particular, the role of NADPH oxidases in atherosclerosis development has become a subject of intensive research. Aberrant activity of NADPH oxidases was shown to be associated with cardiovascular disease in humans. With regard to atherosclerosis, several important pathological components of the disease development, including endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, and vascular remodeling, involve aberrations in NADPH oxidases functioning. In humans, NADPH oxidases are represented by four isoforms expressed in vascular tissues, where they serve as the main source of ROS during atherogenesis. Moreover, recent studies have demonstrated their impact on vascular remodeling processes. Interestingly, one of the NADPH oxidase isoforms, NOX4, was shown to have an atheroprotective effect. Despite the growing evidence of the crucial involvement of NADPH oxidases in atherosclerosis pathogenesis, the available data still remains controversial. In this narrative review, we summarize the current knowledge of the role of NADPH oxidases in atherosclerosis and outline the future directions of research.


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