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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013 Aug 16;438(1):161-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.07.046. Epub 2013 Jul 20.

Oxysterols induce transition of monocytic cells to phenotypically mature dendritic cell-like cells.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan 626-870, Republic of Korea.


Dendritic cells (DCs) activate adaptive immune responses in atherosclerotic plaques; however, the origin of DCs is in question. We attempted to determine whether cholesterol or its oxide forms, which are detected in abundance in atheromatous lesions, could induce differentiation or transition of monocytic cells to DCs. Treatment of THP-1 cells with 27-hydroxycholesterol (27OH-Chol) and 7α-hydroxycholesterol (7αOH-Chol) resulted in an increase in the numbers of adherent cells, and, in contrast to PMA, decreased uptake of FITC-conjugated dextran. In addition, treatment with 27OH-Chol and 7αOH-Chol induced expression of mDC-specific molecules, including CD40, CD80, CD83, and CD88. Of the two oxysterols, 27OH-Chol enhanced expression of MHC class I and II molecules as well as CCR7. However, treatment with an identical concentration of cholesterol and 7-ketocholesterol did not influence adherence, uptake of FITC-conjugated dextran, and expression of the aforementioned molecules. This is the first study to report on change of monocytic cells by oxysterols to phenotypically atypical cells with some characteristics of mDCs detected in atherosclerotic lesions. We propose that a certain type of oxysterol would contribute to immune responses in atherosclerotic lesions by enhancing expression of multiple CD molecules as well as MHC molecules by monocytic cells.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Atherosclerosis; Dendritic cells; Monocytes; Oxysterols

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