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The role of CD40/CD40 ligand (CD40L) in atherothrombosis is now widely accepted. However, the exact mechanisms linking the CD40/CD40L system and the soluble form of CD40 ligand (sCD40L) with atherothrombosis are currently a topic of intensive research. CD40L and sCD40L belong to the tumor necrosis factor superfamily, and they are molecules with a dual prothrombotic and proinflammatory role. They are expressed in a variety of tissues such as the immune system (in both B and T cells), the vascular wall, and activated platelets. Soluble CD40L has multiple autocrine, paracrine, and endocrine actions, and it may trigger key mechanisms participating in atherothrombosis. CD40/CD40L may participate in the development of coronary atherosclerosis and the triggering of acute coronary syndromes, while sCD40L seems to have a prognostic role not only in subjects with advanced atherosclerosis but also in the general population. Although conventional cardiovascular medication such as antiplatelet therapy, statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and many others have been shown to reduce both sCD40L and cardiovascular risk, it is still unclear whether specific treatments targeting the CD40/CD40L system will prove to be beneficial against atherothrombosis in the near future.

Original publication




Journal article


J Am Coll Cardiol

Publication Date





669 - 677


Acute Coronary Syndrome, Animals, Atherosclerosis, CD40 Antigens, CD40 Ligand, Coronary Artery Disease, Humans, Platelet Activation, Polymorphism, Genetic, Prognosis, Solubility, Thrombosis