Lipid homeostasis and the formation of macrophage-derived foam cells in atherosclerosis
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- Yuan, Y., Li, P. & Ye, J. Protein Cell (2012) 3: 173. doi:10.1007/s13238-012-2025-6
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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.