Prospective epidemiological studies have shown associations of circulating inflammatory markers with risk of CHD (coronary heart disease); however, these associations are modest after adjustment for confounding by established risk factors, and do not add significantly to the predictive value of current clinical risk scores. In contrast, experimental human studies of local arterial inflammation, such as the brachial artery infusion of TNF-α (tumour necrosis factor-α) model reported in this issue of Clinical Science by Robinson and co-workers, are of value in elucidating the pathophysiology of atherothrombosis.

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