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Circ Res. 2013 Jun 7;112(12):1634-47. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.113.301384.

Lineage of bone marrow-derived cells in atherosclerosis.

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Center for Interdisciplinary Cardiovascular Sciences, Harvard Medical School, Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease driven by lipids and other atherogenic factors. It is characterized by a dynamic and complex pathological process of bone marrow-derived cells playing divergent roles. Recent studies have begun unraveling the contribution of growing varieties of subsets of immune cells and other bone marrow-derived cells to atherogenesis. For example, bone marrow-derived vascular progenitor cells have been shown to play an important role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. This review provides an overview of the current understanding of contributions of bone marrow-derived cells to atherosclerosis. Particular focus is placed on myeloid cells and vascular progenitor cells. We also summarize the uncertainty surrounding cellular lineage identity and functions. Expansion of our understanding of pathological roles of various subsets of bone marrow-derived cells in atherosclerosis may lead to identification of novel cellular and molecular targets for development of therapeutic strategies.


atherosclerosis; bone marrow–derived cells; inflammation; progenitors

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