Research highlight

Misguided macrophages

Nature Immunology

January 10, 2012

Why macrophages stay in artery plaques, one of the key causative elements of atherosclerosis, is explained this week in an article published in Nature Immunology. These results suggest that interfering with macrophage migratory signals could be important for progression of atherosclerosis and may provide clues for treatment. Kathryn Moore and colleagues found that Netrin-1, a molecule normally used by the body to guide the movement of neurons, was also released by macrophages activated in the plaque of atherosclerotic mice. Netrin-1 signaled macrophages to stop migrating in response to chemical cues and these cells thus accumulated within the plaque. Genetically deleting Netrin-1 reduced atherosclerotic symptoms and resulted in fewer plaque-resident macrophages.

doi: 10.1038/ni.2205

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