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Egea, Virginia (2024): Caught in action: how MSCs modulate atherosclerotic plaque. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 12: 1379091. ISSN 2296-634X

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Atherosclerosis (AS) is a medical condition marked by the stiffening and constriction of the arteries. This is caused by the accumulation of plaque, a substance made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other elements present in the blood. Over time, this plaque solidifies and constricts the arteries, restricting the circulation of oxygen-rich blood to the organs and other body parts. The onset and progression of AS involve a continuous inflammatory response, including the infiltration of inflammatory cells, foam cells derived from monocytes/macrophages, and inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Mesenchymal stromal cells ( MSCs ), a type of multipotent stem cells originating from various body tissues, have recently been demonstrated to have a protective and regulatory role in diseases involving inflammation. Consequently, the transplantation of MSCs is being proposed as a novel therapeutic strategy for atherosclerosis treatment. This mini-review intends to provide a summary of the regulatory effects of MSCs at the plaque site to lay the groundwork for therapeutic interventions.

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