A crucial step in atherogenesis is the infiltration of the subendothelial space of large arteries by monocytes where they differentiate into macrophages and transform into lipid-loaded foam cells. Macrophages are heterogeneous cells that adapt their response to environmental cytokines. Th1 cytokines promote monocyte differentiation into M1 macrophages, whereas Th2 cytokines trigger an "alternative" M2 phenotype.
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