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Nat Rev Immunol. 2013 Oct;13(10):709-21. doi: 10.1038/nri3520. Epub 2013 Sep 2.

Macrophages in atherosclerosis: a dynamic balance.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology, Marc and Ruti Bell Vascular Biology and Disease Program, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA.


Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that arises from an imbalance in lipid metabolism and a maladaptive immune response driven by the accumulation of cholesterol-laden macrophages in the artery wall. Through the analysis of the progression and regression of atherosclerosis in animal models, there is a growing understanding that the balance of macrophages in the plaque is dynamic and that both macrophage numbers and the inflammatory phenotype influence plaque fate. In this Review, we summarize recently identified pro- and anti-inflammatory pathways that link lipid and inflammation biology with the retention of macrophages in plaques, as well as factors that have the potential to promote their egress from these sites.

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