Lipid droplet-associated proteins in atherosclerosis (Review).

Molecular medicine reports

PubMedID: 27082419

Plakkal Ayyappan J, Paul A, Goo YH. Lipid droplet-associated proteins in atherosclerosis (Review). Mol Med Rep. 2016;.
Accumulation of atherosclerotic plaques in arterial walls leads to major cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Macrophages/foam cells are central components of atherosclerotic plaques, which populate the arterial wall in order to remove harmful modified low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles, resulting in the accumulation of lipids, mostly LDL-derived cholesterol ester, in cytosolic lipid droplets (LDs). At present, LDs are recognized as dynamic organelles that govern cellular metabolic processes. LDs consist of an inner core of neutral lipids surrounded by a monolayer of phospholipids and free cholesterol, and contain LD-associated proteins (LDAPs) that regulate LD functions. Foam cells are characterized by an aberrant accumulation of cytosolic LDs, and are considered a hallmark of atherosclerotic lesions through all stages of development. Previous studies have investigated the mechanisms underlying foam cell formation, aiming to discover therapeutic strategies that target foam cells and intervene against atherosclerosis. It is well established that LDAPs have a major role in the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases caused by dysfunction of lipid metabolism, and several studies have linked LDAPs to the development of atherosclerosis. In this review, several foam cell-targeting pathways have been described, with an emphasis on the role of LDAPs in cholesterol mobilization from macrophages. In addition, the potential of LDAPs as therapeutic targets to prevent the progression and/or facilitate the regression of the disease has been discussed.