Experimental cardiovascular research

Research areas

Our research is focused on immune mechanisms in atherosclerosis development. Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease. The disease is associated with systemic immune responses and signs of inflammation. Its lesions are filled with immune cells that can orchestrate and effect inflammatory responses. In fact, the first lesions of atherosclerosis consist of macrophages and T cells. Unstable plaques are particularly rich in activated immune cells, suggesting that they may initiate plaque activation. Experiments in gene-targeted mice have provided mechanistic evidence that immune mechanisms are involved in atherosclerosis.

During recent years, we have seen a rapid increase in understanding of the mechanisms that govern the recruitment, differentiation and activation of immune cells in atherosclerosis. Experimental research has identified several candidate antigens and there is encouraging data suggesting that immune modulation as well as immunization can reduce the progression of the disease.

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Göran K Hansson

K2 Department of Medicine, Solna