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LKB1 and Atherosclerosis (p 1047)
The kinase LKB1 slows foam cell formation and atherosclerosis progression in mice, report Liu et al.
Atherosclerosis begins with the gradual accumulation of fatty deposits on blood vessel walls. Monocytes are recruited to the lesions where they convert to macrophages to phagocytose lipids in the lesions. Continued lipid uptake by the macrophages transforms them into foam cells, which is a critical step in plaque development. However, mechanisms underlying this transformation remain unclear. Liu and colleagues now show that the kinase LKB1, previously identified as having cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory effects, is a negative regulator of foam cell development. They found that, in mice prone to atherosclerosis, the levels of LKB1 in plaque macrophages decreases with disease progression. This decrease prevented LKB1-directed phosphorylation of scavenger receptor A (SRA)—a …