Bobryshev YV, Ivanova EA, Chistiakov DA, Nikiforov NG, Orekhov AN
Biomed Res Int. 2016;2016:9582430. doi: 10.1155/2016/9582430. Epub 2016 Jul 17.
Atherosclerosis can be regarded as a chronic inflammatory state, in which macrophages play different and important roles. Phagocytic proinflammatory cells populate growing atherosclerotic lesions, where they actively participate in cholesterol accumulation. Moreover, macrophages promote formation of complicated and unstable plaques by maintaining proinflammatory microenvironment. At the same time, anti-inflammatory macrophages contribute to tissue repair and remodelling and plaque stabilization. Macrophages therefore represent attractive targets for development of antiatherosclerotic therapy, which can aim to reduce monocyte recruitment to the lesion site, inhibit proinflammatory macrophages, or stimulate anti-inflammatory responses and cholesterol efflux. More studies are needed, however, to create a comprehensive classification of different macrophage phenotypes and to define their roles in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. In this review, we provide an overview of the current knowledge on macrophage diversity, activation, and plasticity in atherosclerosis and describe macrophage-based cellular tests for evaluation of potential antiatherosclerotic substances.