Modification of macrophage function and effects on atherosclerosis

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Various factors are involved in the maturation and differentiation process of monocytes to macrophages and subsequent foam cell formation in atherosclerotic lesions. Macrophage colonystimulating factor, in particular, specifically promotes growth and differentiation of the monocyte-macrophage lineage, by activating various functions in mature macrophages and by influencing the atherosclerotic process. Vascular smooth muscle cells migrate from the media to the intima of the arterial wall, where they are transformed into macrophage-like foam cells that express two characteristic macrophage genes, scavenger receptor and macrophage colony-stimulating factor receptor genes.

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