Month: January 2016

Getting enough iron in their diet: macrophages develop specialized protective functions within atherosclerotic plaques

Written by Khansa Hussain

Edited by Caroline Anderson

Last November we had the pleasure to welcome Dr Joseph Boyle from Imperial College London to our IRD Journal Club. He nominated his publication “Activating Transcription Factor 1 Directs Mhem Atheroprotective Macrophages Through Coordinated Iron Handling and Foam Cell Protection” to introduce and discuss with us his interesting finding of identifying a unique state of macrophages (Mhem) within intraplaque hemorrhage (IPH). IPH is a common feature of atherosclerotic plaque damage which involves the rupture of neovessels causing blood to escape into the surrounding tissues. This leads to cholesterol and heme/iron loading. The monocytes that enter the plaques and differentiate to macrophages to clear hemorrhage-related iron or lipid are known as Mhem macrophages to discriminate them from the classic lipid-laden macrophages (foam cells).