The accumulation of lipids within arteries remains to be the initial impulse for the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis; however, both inflammation and oxidative stress are considered to play a critical role in this process. Several lipid lowering drugs are used as the first line therapy in atherosclerosis; however, different agents have been found to exhibit beneficial effects which are independent of their lipid lowering activity. Both statins and fibrates have been reported to exert anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects in addition to their anti-atherosclerotic actions. Furthermore, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic and anti-platelet drugs, which reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, have been shown to attenuate atherosclerosis. In addition, novel substances such as HDL-related agents, cyclopentenone prostaglandins, lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 inhibitors, 5-lipoxygenase pathway inhibitors, acyl CoA: cholesterol acyltransferase inhibitors, analogues of probucol and lysophosphatidic acid antagonists have been developed for the treatment of atherosclerosis as a consequence of their actions on oxidative stress and inflammation. The present article reviews the involvement of inflammation and oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and focuses on the mechanisms of some clinically used as well as potential anti-atherosclerotic substances with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis, inflammation, oxidative stress, statins, fibrates, novel anti-atherosclerotic drugs
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