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Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2002 May;4(3):243-51.

ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters in atherosclerosis.

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Institute for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, University of Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauss-Allee 11, Germany.


Macrophages play a central role in the initiation and progression of atherosclerotic lesions. In the nascent lesion, macrophages transform into foam cells through the excessive accumulation of cholesteryl esters. Dysfunctional lipid homeostasis in macrophages and foam cells ultimately results in the breakdown of membrane integrity and cell death. Studies within the past 2 years have implicated a defined subset of multispan transmembrane proteins, the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, in macrophage lipid homeostasis. The recent finding that ABCA1, beyond its function as a major regulator of plasma high-density lipoprotein metabolism, exerts significant antiatherosclerotic activities has provided the first direct evidence for the role of an ABC transporter in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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