, Volume 35, Supplement 2, pp S34–S40 | Cite as

The process of atherogenesis — cellular and molecular interaction: from experimental animal models to humans

  • R. Ross
  • L. Agius


Atherogenesis is a disorder of the artery wall that involves: adhesion of monocytes and lymphocytes to the endothelial cell surface; migration of monocytes into the sub-endothelial space and differentiation into macrophages; ingestion of low density lipoproteins and modified or oxidised low density lipoproteins by macrophages by several pathways, including a scavenger pathway, leading to accumulation of cholesterol esters and formation of “foam cells”. These foam cells together with T lymphocytes form the fatty streak. Vascular smooth muscle cells migrate from the media into the intima and proliferate with the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. These processes which involve cell adhesion, migration, differentiation, proliferation and cell interaction with the extracellular matrix are regulated by a complex network/cascade of cytokines and growth regulatory peptides. Thus, atherosclerosis may be the result of a specialised chronic inflammatory fibroproliferative process which has become excessive and in its excess this protective response has become the disease state.

Key words

Atherogenesis risk factors diabetes mellitus cytokines growth factors 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Ross
    • 1
  • L. Agius
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity of Newcastle upon TyneNewcastle upon TyneUK

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