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Author Notes:

Address for reprint requests and other correspondence: H. Jo, Coulter Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory Univ., 303 Woodruff Circle, Woodruff Memorial Bldg., Rm. 2005, Atlanta, GA 30322 (e-mail: hjo@emory.edu).

N.A.G. prepared the figures; N.A.G. drafted the manuscript; N.A.G., T.L.D., A.R., and H.J. edited and revised the manuscript; T.L.D. and H.J. approved the final version of the manuscript.

No conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise, are declared by the author(s).


Research Funding:

This work was supported by funding from National Institutes of Health Grants HL-095070, HL-7053, and HHSN268201000043C and by a World Class University Project (R31-2008-000-10010-0) from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Education of S. Korea (MEST) to H. Jo.


  • atherosclerosis
  • dendritic cells
  • shear stress
  • vascular inflammation
  • vessel wall physiology

The role of the vascular dendritic cell network in atherosclerosis


Journal Title:

American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology


Volume 305, Number 1


, Pages C1-C21

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


A complex role has been described for dendritic cells (DCs) in the potentiation and control of vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis. Resident vascular DCs are found in the intima of atherosclerosis-prone vascular regions exposed to disturbed blood flow patterns. Several phenotypically and functionally distinct vascular DC subsets have been described. The functional heterogeneity of these cells and their contributions to vascular homeostasis, inflammation, and atherosclerosis are only recently beginning to emerge. Here, we review the available literature, characterizing the origin and function of known vascular DC subsets and their important role contributing to the balance of immune activation and immune tolerance governing vascular homeostasis under healthy conditions. We then discuss how homeostatic DC functions are disrupted during atherogenesis, leading to atherosclerosis. The effectiveness of DC-based “atherosclerosis vaccine” therapies in the treatment of atherosclerosis is also reviewed. We further provide suggestions for distinguishing DCs from macrophages and discuss important future directions for the field.

Copyright information:

© 2013 the American Physiological Society

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