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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2004 Dec;24(12):2211-8. Epub 2004 Oct 7.

Molecular interactions leading to lipoprotein retention and the initiation of atherosclerosis.

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Division of Preventive Medicine & Nutrition, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Atherosclerosis is distinguished by the accumulation of lipoprotein lipid within the arterial wall. An ionic interaction of positively charged regions of apolipoprotein (apo) B with matrix proteins, including proteoglycans, collagen, and fibronectin, is thought to initiate this process. Proteoglycans are complex glycoproteins containing highly negatively charged carbohydrate chains. These proteins are abundant in atherosclerosis lesions, and they associate with apoB-containing lipoproteins. Several specific regions of apoB may mediate this process. Other lipoprotein-associated proteins, including apoE and lipases, might also participate in this process. In addition, retention may occur via lipoprotein association with other matrix molecules or as a consequence of intra-arterial lipoprotein aggregation.

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