This proposal requests support for a Keystone Symposia meeting entitled Molecular Basis of Vascular Inflammation and Atherosclerosis, organized by Edward A. Fisher, Catherine C. Hedrick and MacRae F. Linton, which will be held in Big Sky, Montana from March 25 - 30, 2012. Inflammation is inextricably woven into the natural history of atherosclerosis. The macrophage is integral to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, functioning at the intersection of inflammation and cholesterol homeostasis, making its biological properties an important topic. Consequently, macrophage biology will be a major focus of the Keystone Symposia meeting on Molecular Basis of Vascular Inflammation and Atherosclerosis. The critical contributions of innate and adaptive immunities to atherosclerosis will also be reviewed, and a session on fundamental features of the inflammatory process, including its resolution, will introduce concepts likely to influence future paradigms in the atherosclerosis field. Recently discovered factors that regulate levels of atherogenic lipoproteins, key initiators of arterial inflammation, will be presented. Other highlights include progress in genomic approaches to discover risk factors for coronary artery disease, as well as advances in imaging techniques to detect atherosclerotic plaques, cellular composition of plaques, and trafficking of immune cells in vivo. The Keynote address will highlight emerging roles of nuclear hormone receptors as integrators of plaque lipid metabolism and immune activity.
Atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease remain leading causes of death in the United States. Moreover, atherosclerosis is a major risk factor for subjects with Type 2 diabetes, and the incidence of Type 2 diabetes onset is increasing at an alarming rate worldwide. The Keystone Symposia meeting on Molecular Basis of Vascular Inflammation and Atherosclerosis is focused on three fields that are emerging in atherosclerosis research - immunology, genetics, and imaging - and includes speakers who are performing cutting-edge research in these fields and are now bringing their expertise to atherosclerosis. The goal of this conference is to provide both trainees and faculty studying atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease with the opportunity to learn, to exchange ideas in a positive environment, and to forge collaborations.