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The macrophage is exquisitely sensitive to its microenvironment, as demonstrated primarily through in vitro study. Changes in macrophage phenotype and function within the atherosclerotic plaque have profound consequences for plaque biology, including rupture and arterial thrombosis leading to clinical events such as myocardial infarction. We review the evidence for dynamic changes in macrophage numbers and macrophage differentiation within the atherosclerotic plaque microenvironment and discuss potential approaches to target macrophage differentiation for therapeutic benefit in cardiovascular disease. Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.


Howell J Williams, Edward A Fisher, David R Greaves. Macrophage differentiation and function in atherosclerosis: opportunities for therapeutic intervention? Journal of innate immunity. 2012;4(5-6):498-508

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PMID: 22572544

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