Atherosclerosis is the main pathology behind most cardiovascular diseases. It is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by the formation of lipid-rich plaques in arteries. Atherosclerotic plaques are initiated by the deposition of cholesterol-rich LDL particles in the arterial walls leading to the activation of innate and adaptive immune responses. Current treatments focus on the reduction of LDL blood levels using statins, however the critical components of inflammation and autoimmunity have been mostly ignored as therapeutic targets. The restoration of immune tolerance towards atherosclerosis-relevant antigens can arrest lesion development as shown in pre-clinical models. In this review, we evaluate the clinical development of similar strategies for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes or multiple sclerosis and analyse the potential of tolerogenic vaccines for atherosclerosis and the challenges that need to be overcome to bring this therapy to patients.
Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.