The role of potassium in atherosclerosis

Toktam Sahranavard, Federico Carbone, Fabrizio Montecucco, Suowen Xu, Khalid Al-Rasadi, Tannaz Jamialahmadi, Amirhossein Sahebkar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Atherosclerosis (AS) is a chronic progressive inflammatory condition with a leading prevalence worldwide. Endothelial dysfunction leads to low-density lipoprotein trafficking into subendothelial space and the subsequent form of oxidized LDL (ox-LDL) within intimal layer, perpetuating the vicious cycle of endothelial dysfunction. K+ exerts beneficial effects in vascular wall by reducing LDL oxidization, vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) proliferation, and free radical generation. K+ also modulates vascular tone through a regulatory effect on cell membrane potential. Materials and Methods: The most relevant papers on the association between ‘potassium channels’ and ‘atherosclerosis’ were selected among those deposited on PubMed from 1990 to 2020. Results: Here, we provide a short narrative review that elaborates on the role of K+ in atherosclerosis. This review also update the current knowledge about potential pharmacological agents targeting K+ channels with a special focus on pleiotropic activities of agents such as statins, sulfonylureas and dihydropyridines. Conclusion: In this review, the mechanism of different K+ channels on vascular endothelium will be summarized, mainly focusing on their pathophysiological role in atherosclerosis and potential therapeutic application.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13454
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • atherosclerosis
  • ion channel
  • potassium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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