Molecular and cellular mechanisms of macrophage survival in atherosclerosisMolecular and cellular mechanisms of macrophage survival in atherosclerosis
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Basic research in cardiology. - Darmstadt
107(2012):6, 12 p.
University of Antwerp
Macrophages play a key role in the initiation and progression of atherosclerotic plaques. Although a significant number of macrophages undergoes cell death during plaque development as a result of atherogenic stressors, advanced plaques are characterized by a large macrophage content. Macrophage accumulation is mediated by continuous recruitment of monocytes, reduced emigration of macrophages and poor phagocytosis of dead cells which may trigger secondary necrosis and amplification of plaque inflammation. Moreover, an increasing body of evidence indicates that macrophages have developed several strategies to survive and to proliferate in the adverse environment of an advanced atherosclerotic plaque. Macrophages contain organic molecules or enzymes that provide enhanced antioxidant protection. In addition, synthesis of anti-apoptotic proteins is upregulated and several cellular protection mechanisms such as the unfolded protein response and autophagy are activated in macrophages to promote cellular survival. In this review, we discuss these macrophage survival mechanisms that allow growth and destabilization of advanced atherosclerotic plaques.