Atherosclerosis

About the Laboratory

Atherosclerosis is a hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques within the vessel wall. These plaques encroach on the arterial lumen, interfering with blood flow and in acute events can rupture, blocking blood flow completely. Atherosclerosis is the underlying disease leading to a wide variety of cardiovascular related illnesses and can lead to clinical outcomes such as heart attacks or strokes when rupture occurs.

Macrophages are inflammatory cells that play an important role in the initiation and the progression of the atherosclerotic plaque. Within a lesion, macrophages take up large amounts of cholesterol rendering them macrophage foam cells. These foams cells can be highly inflammatory and exacerbate lesion formation.

In the Atherosclerosis Laboratory we use various cell and animal models to study macrophage foam cells, particularly:

  Mechanisms related to cholesterol accumulation and excretion of cholesterol from macrophage foam cells
  Regulatory pathways of factors secreted from macrophage foam cells
  Characterization of glycosylation of anti-atherogenic apolipoprotein E
  Cleavage of anti-atherogenic factors by macrophages (need to add)
  Atherosclerotic side effects of the immunosuppressant drug Cyclosporin A
  Role of SMPDL3A in inflammatory diseases


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