J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2018 Sep-Oct;32(5):1055-1059.

Role of macrophages in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and aortocoronary graft disease.

Perek B1, Kowalska K2, Kempisty B2,3,4, Nowicki A5, Jankowski M3, Nawrocki MJ3, Malińska A2,6.

Author information

1 Department of Cardiac Surgery and Transplantology, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland.
2 Department of Histology and Embryology, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland.
3 Department of Anatomy, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland.
4 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Hospital and Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.
5 Department of Toxicology, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland.
6 Department of Anatomy and Histology, University of Zielona Gora, Zielona Gora, Poland.


Atherosclerosis and disease of graft implanted to bypass occluded coronary or peripheral arteries are similar processes. Patency of implanted grafts is of paramount importance in respect to long-term outcomes. Although few cell types participate in atherosclerotic plaque formation, macrophages play a crucial role. In this article we review the fate of monocytes that infiltrate vessel wall following endothelium damage, and then undergo transformation to macrophages (identified as CD68 positive cells) and eventually lead to severe stenosis of vessel. Opposing biological activity of two subpopulations of macrophages and their impact on plaque instability and its calcification is also presented. At the end of this paper, a possible clinical significance of pre-existing, CD68 positive cell infiltration of vessel wall, applied as aortocoronary grafts, is discussed.

Publication type

Publication type

  • Editorial

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