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Review Article
Nature 362, 801 - 809 (29 April 1993); doi:10.1038/362801a0

The pathogenesis of atherosclerosis: a perspective for the 1990s

Russell Ross

Department of Pathology, SM-30, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.

Atherosclerosis, the principal cause of heart attack, stroke and gangrene of the extremities, is responsible for 50% of all mortality in the USA, Europe and Japan. The lesions result from an excessive, inflammatory-fibroproliferative response to various forms of insult to the endothelium and smooth muscle of the artery wall. A large number of growth factors, cytokines and vasoregulatory molecules participate in this process. Our ability to control the expression of genes encoding these molecules and to target specific cell types provides opportunities to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic agents to induce the regression of the lesions and, possibly, to prevent their formation.

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