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Micron. 2006;37(3):208-22. Epub 2005 Nov 9.

Monocyte recruitment and foam cell formation in atherosclerosis.

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  • 1Surgical Professorial Unit, St Vincent's Hospital, 234 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia.


Atherosclerosis is a chronic immune-inflammatory disease in which the interactions of monocytes with activated endothelium are crucial events leading to atherosclerotic alteration of the arterial intima. In early atherosclerosis, monocytes migrate into the subendothelial layer of the intima where they differentiate into macrophages or dendritic cells. In the subendothelial space enriched with atherogenic lipoproteins, most macrophages transform into foam cells. Foam cells aggregate to form the atheromatous core and as this process progresses, the atheromatous centres of plaques become necrotic, consisting of lipids, cholesterol crystals and cell debris. This review highlights some aspects of monocyte recruitment and foam cell formation in atherosclerosis.

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