Inflammation is an intrinsic part of the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD)1. Accumulation of inflammatory cells in the vessel wall and predominantly in so-called vulnerable plaques suggests that the most vulnerable sites in the vessel wall have the most intense inflammatory activity2'3. Inflammatory cells whether in the vessel wall or the circulation produce a number of inflammatory proteins called cytokines which are central to the proinflammatory response of the vessel wall and the systemic acute phase response. Inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1 (IL-1) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) stimulate the production of C-reactive protein (CRP) predominantly by the liver, but also by endothelial and smooth muscle cells in the vessel wall (Figure 6.1).
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