Clinical and preclinical studies over the past 3 decades have uncovered a multitude of signaling pathways involved in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. From these studies, signaling by proteins of the Wnt family has recently emerged as an important player in the development of atherosclerosis. Wnt signaling is characterized by a large number of ligands, receptors, and coreceptors and can be regulated at many different levels. Among Wnt modulators, the evolutionary conserved Dkk (Dickkopf) proteins, and especially Dkk-1, the founding member of the family, are the best characterized. The role of Dkks in the pathophysiology of the arterial wall is only partially understood, but their involvement in atherosclerosis is becoming increasingly evident. This review introduces recent key findings on Dkk proteins and their functions in atherosclerosis and discusses the potential importance of modulating Dkk signaling as part of a novel, improved strategy for preventing and treating atherosclerosis-related diseases.
Baetta R, Banfi C. Dkk (Dickkopf) Proteins. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2019 May 16:ATVBAHA119312612. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.119.312612.