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J Atheroscler Thromb. 2009;16(6):829-39. Epub 2009 Dec 22.

Distribution of smooth muscle cells and macrophages expressing scavenger receptor BI/II in atherosclerosis.

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Department of Pathology, Toho University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.



Scavenger receptors type I and II (SRBI/II) have dual roles in both atherogenic and antiatherogenic functions through interactions with lipoproteins and their expression in macrophages; how-ever, the distribution and density of SRBI/II-positive macrophages and smooth muscle cells (SMCs) as well as their association with lipid metabolism-related proteins in atherosclerotic intima of the human aorta remain unclear.


Autopsied aortic tissues were double-immunostained with SRBI/BII and smooth muscle actin or macrophage-specific antibodies. The density of SRBI/BII-positive SMCs and macrophages in intimal lesion was measured. They were also immunostained with antibodies against four apolipoproteins, four phospholipase A2s, and CETP.


SRBI/II was expressed in both macrophages and SMCs distributed in various intimal lesions. The density of SRBI/II-positive SMCs in intimal lesions significantly decreased with the advance of atherosclerosis, whereas the density of SRBI/II-positive macrophages significantly increased with atherosclerotic development. In addition, functional proteins, such as apolipoproteins, secretory phospholipase A2s, and CETP, were distributed in the intimal stroma around SRBI/II-positive cells in all lesion types.


The results indicated that SMCs are involved in lipid metabolism via SRBI/II expression mainly in the early stages of atherosclerosis evolution, and that SRBI/II-positive macrophages are mainly involved in advanced stages.

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