Review

Protein & Cell

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 173-181

First online:

Lipid homeostasis and the formation of macrophage-derived foam cells in atherosclerosis

  • Yuan YuanAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University
  • , Peng LiAffiliated withTsinghua-Peking Center for Life Sciences, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University
  • , Jing YeAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University Email author 

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Abstract

Atherosclerosis is a chronic, inflammatory disorder characterized by the deposition of excess lipids in the arterial intima. The formation of macrophage-derived foam cells in a plaque is a hallmark of the development of atherosclerosis. Lipid homeostasis, especially cholesterol homeostasis, plays a crucial role during the formation of foam cells. Recently, lipid droplet-associated proteins, including PAT and CIDE family proteins, have been shown to control the development of atherosclerosis by regulating the formation, growth, stabilization and functions of lipid droplets in macrophage-derived foam cells. This review focuses on the potential mechanisms of formation of macrophage-derived foam cells in atherosclerosis with particular emphasis on the role of lipid homeostasis and lipid droplet-associated proteins. Understanding the process of foam cell formation will aid in the future discovery of novel therapeutic interventions for atherosclerosis.

Keywords

macrophage foam cell atherosclerosis cholesterol lipid droplet-associated proteins