Cardiovascular Eicosanoid Research
Inflammation is an important feature of many chronic diseases, such as arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and cardiovascular disease. Systemic markers of inflammation, such as CRP, have for example been associated with myocardial infarction and stroke. Although the use of lipid-lowering drugs may decrease both systemic and local inflammation in cardiovascular patients, a potential further benefit could be anticipated by specific anti-inflammatory agents targeting key immune reactions in the atherosclerosis process. However, experiences from long term use of anti-inflammatory drugs called COX-2 inhibitors (such as Vioxx®) have indicated that inflammation in cardiovascular disease is a complex reaction and that the effects of different anti-inflammatory strategies are difficult to foresee.
Recently, genetic association studies brought the attention to a group of lipid-derived mediators called the leukotrienes as promoters of atherosclerosis and its ischemic complications such as myocardial infarction and stroke. Interestingly, leukotrienes were initially recognized as bronchoconstrictors, and anti-leukotriene medications have been introduced in the treatment of asthma during the past 10 years.
Within the present project, the cardiovascular effects of the leukotrienes are explored with the aim to determine the therapeutic potential of anti-inflammatory drugs targeting the leukotriene pathway in the treatment of cardiovascular disease.