Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Biomedical Science

First Advisor

Daping Fan

Abstract

Atherosclerosis is a disease characterized by the infiltration of monocytes into the vessel wall, their differentiation into phagocytic resident macrophages, and subsequent lipid uptake and accumulation causing plaque growth and atheroma formation. Hyperlipidemia and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease promote the conversion of LDL to ox-LDL, which causes insult to the vascular wall. One of the earliest events of atherogenesis is the adhesion of circulating monocytes to the injured vessel wall endothelial layer. Studies have shown that many factors influence monocyte activation and differentiation to macrophages in the context of atherogenesis. Studies have also shown that both the cell surface and intracellular expression pattern alterations occur in monocytes during these processes. Understanding how these early steps in atherogenesis occur is a prerequisite to the development of therapeutic agents that reduce inflammation and prevent plaque formation in arterial vessel walls. Also, recent research has shown that hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and their progenitor lineages are involved in this chronic inflammatory disease. This work will review key factors that influence monocyte differentiation and activation, and the emerging relationship between monocyte precursor stem cells and atherosclerosis.

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