Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease depending on the buildup, called plaque, of lipoproteins, cholesterol, extracellular matrix elements, and various types of immune and non-immune cells on the artery walls. Plaque development and growth lead to the narrowing of the blood vessel lumen, blocking blood flow, and eventually may lead to plaque burst and a blood clot. The prominent cellular components of atherosclerotic plaque are the foam cells, which, by trying to remove lipoprotein and cholesterol surplus, also participate in plaque development and rupture. Although the common knowledge is that the foam cells derive from macrophages, studies of the last decade clearly showed that macrophages are not the only cells able to form foam cells in atherosclerotic plaque. These findings give a new perspective on atherosclerotic plaque formation and composition and define new targets for anti-foam cell therapies for atherosclerosis prevention. This review gives a concise description of foam cells of different pedigrees and describes the main mechanisms participating in their formation and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14154
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • atherosclerosis
  • cholesterol
  • dendritic cells
  • endothelial cells
  • foam cells
  • macrophages
  • smooth muscle cells
  • stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Macrophage-, Dendritic-, Smooth Muscle-, Endothelium-, and Stem Cells-Derived Foam Cells in Atherosclerosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this