Cardiovascular (CV) diseases (CVD) are primarily caused by atherosclerotic vascular disease. Atherogenesis is mainly driven by recruitment of leucocytes to the arterial wall, where macrophages contribute to both lipid retention as well as the inflammatory milieu within the vessel wall. Consequently, diseases which present with an enhanced abundance of circulating leucocytes, particularly monocytes, have also been documented to accelerate CVD. A host of metabolic and inflammatory diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, hypercholesteraemia, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), have been shown to alter myelopoiesis to exacerbate atherosclerosis. Genetic evidence has emerged in humans with the discovery of clonal haematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP), resulting in a disordered haematopoietic system linked to accelerated atherogenesis. CHIP, caused by somatic mutations in haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs), consequently provide a proliferative advantage over native HSPCs and, in the case of Tet2 loss of function mutation, gives rise to inflammatory plaque macrophages (i.e. enhanced interleukin (IL)-1β production). Together with the recent findings of the CANTOS (Canakinumab Anti-inflammatory Thrombosis Outcomes Study) trial that revealed blocking IL-1β using Canakinumab reduced CV events, these studies collectively have highlighted a pivotal role of IL-1β signalling in a population of people with atherosclerotic CVD. This review will explore how haematopoiesis is altered by risk-factors and inflammatory disorders that promote CVD. Further, we will discuss some of the recent genetic evidence of disordered haematopoiesis in relation to CVD though the association with CHIP and suggest that future studies should explore what initiates HSPC mutations, as well as how current anti-inflammatory agents affect CHIP-driven atherosclerosis.

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