Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the arterial walls that often leads to myocardial infarction and/or stroke. Hypercholesterolemia and an imbalance of peripheral leukocyte counts, leading to arterial leukocyte infiltration, are considered independent risk factors for atherosclerosis. However, in this issue of the JCI, Murphy and colleagues identify a mechanistic link between hypercholesterolemia, leukocytosis, and the subsequent development of atherosclerotic lesions in mice. These findings could pave the way for the development of novel treatment strategies to control leukocyte homeostasis and atherosclerosis.
Christian Weber, Oliver Soehnlein