Antigen-presenting dendritic cells in atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is characterized by lipid accumulation and chronic inflammation of the arterial wall, involving both innate and adaptive immune responses. Accumulation of lipid-laden macrophages is a key event in atherosclerosis. However, also other immune cells, such as dendritic cells (DC) and T cells, are found within lesions. DCs are classified as a separate lineage of mononuclear phagocytes that arise from progenitors distinct from precursors of monocytes/macrophages. Although a clear attribution of the effects of antigen-presenting cells (APCs) to monocytes/macrophages and DCs is hampered by the use of promiscuous surface markers, recent research has approached to resolve the contribution of bona fide DCs and their subsets, and of plasmacytoidDCs (pDCs) to atherosclerosis. We here discuss the pathogenic and protective mechanisms engaged by APCs in atherosclerosis and highlight current concepts to further address their role in atherosclerosis.