Volume 227 | Issue 2 | April 2013

Highlighted Articles

By Sarah Leigh (Editorial Assistant) and Steve Humphries (Editor–in-Chief)

In order to test the hypothesis that estrogen contributes to atherosclerosis in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, Shelton et al administered 17-β estradiol to a mouse model of lupus and atherosclerosis. Unexpectedly they found that estrogen treatment was atheroprotective, since it protected the lupus-prone mice from protein-losing nephropathy and did not increase auto-antibody production. This novel study has been put into context in an invited commentary by Chiara Bolego, who provides some possible explanation for these surprising results and suggests further studies which could help to clarify the situation.

Barbieri et al report in their paper that intimal media thickness is reduced in type 2 diabetic patients by controlling daily acute glucose fluctuations using dipeptidyl-peptidase-IV (DPP-4) inhibitors. Although they welcome this novel study, Jialal & Bajaj highlight it’s limitations in their invited commentary. They go on to summarize the “off target” properties of DPP-4 inhibitors which may potentially have anti-atherogenic effects and discuss on-going studies which may help to resolve some of the issues raised.

In an attempt to evaluate efficacy of pravastatin treatment on the serum levels of total adiponectin and high molecular weight (HMW) adiponectin in female patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypercholesterolemia Kim et al performed a 16 week multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled, factorial randomized trial of pravastatin treatment. Their results led them to conclude that although pravastatin lowered total and low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels significantly, it had no effect on serum total or HMW adiponectin levels. In his invited commentary “The Enigma of Adiponectin”, Mogens Fenger discusses the current state of knowledge of the effects of adiponectin in its various forms and concludes that many questions remain to be answered, especially in light of the direct actions that adiponectins have with other compounds and also the influence that genetic variability may be having.

Review Articles

A detailed comparison of carotid and coronary atherosclerosis is presented in a review article by Jashari et al. They conclude that although there is much correspondence between atherosclerosis in the two locations, differences are also apparent which will necessitate further study if they are to be understood.

The role of microRNA-33 in the etiology and pathophysiology of atherosclerosis is examined in the review article by Chen et al. As Chen et al comment, an understanding of this area of research may facilitate the development of novel therapeutic strategies for tackling atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.

In a second review article on microRNAs, Norata et al focus on the role that these molecules have on lipid metabolism and how lipoproteins may meditate microRNA transport. They also conclude that modulation of microRNAs may hold potential therapeutic benefit.

The direct effects that adipokines have on vascular endothelial function and atherosclerosis are examined in review of published experimental and clinical data by Ntaios et al. They conclude that adipokines have the potential to be used as diagnostic and prognostic markers of cardiovascular disease and that targeting these molecules could be beneficial.

Papers in this issue include:

Vascular Biology, Hemostasis & Oxidative Stress

  • Expression pattern in human macrophages dependent on 9p21.3 coronary artery disease risk locus.
  • Platelet-derived microparticles augment the adhesion and neovascularization capacities of circulating angiogenic cells obtained from atherosclerotic patients.

Metabolism: Lipids, Lipoproteins, Carbohydrates, Homocysteine & Cholesterol

  • Changes of mitochondria in atherosclerosis: Possible determinant in the pathogenesis of the disease.
  • PCSK9 plays a significant role in cholesterol homeostasis and lipid transport in intestinal epithelial cells.

Imaging and Measurement of Vessel Health

  • Small-size circulating microparticles in acute coronary syndromes: Relevance to fibrinolytic status, reparative markers and outcomes.
  • Sagittal Abdominal Diameter to Triceps Skinfold Thickness Ratio: A Novel Anthropometric Index to Predict Premature Coronary Atherosclerosis.


  • The effect of LDLR-negative genotype on CT coronary atherosclerosis in asymptomatic statin treated patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia.
  • Spectrum of mutations & phenotypic expression in patients with autosomal dominant hypercholesterolemia identified in Italy.


  • Dose-dependent effects of short term atorvastatin treatment on arterial wall properties and on indices of left ventricular remodelling in ischemic heart failure.
  • Lutein supplementation reduces plasma lipid peroxidation and C-reactive protein in healthy non-smokers.

Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Nutrition

  • Defensive coping facilitates higher blood pressure and early sub-clinical structural vascular disease via alterations in heart rate variability: the SABPA study.
  • Circulating soluble RAGE as a predictive biomarker of cardiovascular event risk in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Author and Reviewer Workshop at the EAS Congress in Lyon

Tuesday 4 June, 17:00 - 19:00

The Atherosclerosis Journal will be holding a workshop at the EAS congress in Lyon this June. Journal staff will be available to provide advice and guidance for authors and reviewers and we will be happy to discuss any issues that you may have with the journal. We will look forward to meeting you and hope that you will join us for this workshop and refreshments.