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Nataliya V Mushenkova, Nikita G Nikiforov, Alexandra A Melnichenko, Vladislav Kalmykov, Nikolay K Shakhpazyan, Varvara A Orekhova, Alexander N Orekhov

Biomedicines. 2022 Feb 15;10(2):452. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines10020452.


Macrophages are the key inflammatory cell type involved in all stages of atherosclerosis development and progression, as demonstrated by numerous studies. Correspondingly, macrophages are currently regarded as a promising therapeutic target for the development of new treatment approaches. The macrophage population is heterogeneous and dynamic, as these cells can switch between a number of distinct functional states with pro- and anti-atherogenic activity in response to various stimuli. An atherosclerotic plaque microenvironment defined by cytokine levels, cell-to-cell interactions, lipid accumulation, hypoxia, neoangiogenesis, and intraplaque haemorrhage may guide local macrophage polarization processes within the lesion. In this review, we discuss known functional phenotypes of intraplaque macrophages and their distinct contribution to ahteroinflammation.


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