A growing body of evidence indicates that inflammation plays a key role in the pathogenesis of vascular injury and atherosclerosis. However, it is still unclear how inflammatory responses are trigged by vascular injury and atherosclerosis in the vascular walls. The inflammasome is a large multiprotein complex that is formed in the cytosol in response to danger signals; it drives the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-1β, which is a key mediator in the disease process of sterile inflammation. Since IL-1β is an early and prominent player in vascular injury and atherosclerosis, the inflammasome is one of the best potential candidates for the initial mediator in this vascular disease. Here, this review briefly describes the role of the inflammasome in the pathogenesis of vascular injury and atherosclerosis and discuss the potential of the inflammasome as a therapeutic target.
The Japanese Society of Inflammation and Regeneration