Foam cells

Foam cells

Foam cells are cells in an atheroma derived from both macrophages [cite web |url= |title=Atherosclerosis |format= |work= |accessdate=] and smooth muscle cells [MeshName|Foam+cells] which have accumulated low density lipoproteins,LDLs, by endocytosis. The LDL has crossed the endothelial barrier and has been oxidized by reactive oxygen species produced by the endothelial cells. Foam cells can also be known as fatty like streaks and typically line the intima media of the vasculature.

Foam cells are not dangerous as such, but can become a problem when they accumulate at a particular foci thus creating a necrotic centre of the atherosclerosis. If the fibrous cap that prevents the necrotic centre from spilling into the lumen of a vessel ruptures, a thrombus can form which can lead to emboli occluding smaller vessels. The occlusion of small vessels results in ischemia, and contributes to stroke and myocardial infarction, two of the leading causes of cardiovascular-related death.


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