Cholesterol Crystal-Mediated Inflammation Is Driven by Plasma Membrane Destabilization
Atherosclerosis is driven by an inflammatory milieu in the walls of artery vessels. Initiated early in life, it progresses to plaque formation and form cell accumulation. A culprit in this cascade is the deposition of cholesterol crystals (CC). The involvement of smaller crystals in the early stage of atherosclerotic changes may be critical to the long-term pathological development. How these small crystals initiate the pro-inflammatory events is under study. We report here an unexpected mechanism that microscopic CC interact with cellular membrane in a phagocytosis-independent manner. The binding of these crystals extracts cholesterol from the cell surface. This process causes a sudden catastrophic rupture of plasma membrane and necrosis of the bound cells independent of any known cell death-inducing pathways, releasing inflammatory agents associated with the necrotic cell death. Our results, therefore, reveal a biophysical aspect of CC in potentially mediating the inflammatory progress in atherosclerosis.
Authors: Shu F1,2, Chen J2, Ma X3, Fan Y3, Yu L2, Zheng W2, Amrein MW4,5, Xia T2, Shi Y2,6.
Influence Factor: 6.429
Citation: Front Immunol 9, 1163 (2018).
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