Biomechanical factors and macrophages in plaque stability

Anusha Seneviratne, Maarten Hulsmans, Paul Holvoet, Claudia Monaco

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Thin-cap fibroatheromas (TCFAs) or vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques are considered a high-risk phenotype for acute cardiovascular events. TCFAs are identified by a thin rupture-prone fibrous cap, a large necrotic core, and a high content of leucocytes. Atherogenesis is dependent upon complex patterns of blood flow. Slow-flowing blood imposing low shear stress on the arterial wall up-regulates inflammatory signalling in endothelial cells and leucocytes, and modulates microRNAs to promote inflammation and monocyte recruitment. Hence, low shear stress is believed to promote conditions conducive to vulnerable plaque development. In this review, we explore how biomechanical factors modulate macrophage phenotype and plaque stability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-93
Number of pages10
JournalCardiovascular research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis/genetics
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Fibrosis
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Macrophage Activation
  • Macrophages/metabolism
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular
  • MicroRNAs/metabolism
  • Necrosis
  • Phenotype
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Rupture, Spontaneous
  • Stress, Mechanical

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