The Pathobiology of the Atherosclerotic Plaque in the Mid-1980s

  • Robert W. Wissler


The process of progressive atherogenesis is largely the result of the interaction of lipoproteins with the artery wall cells and their matrix products to produce the advanced plaque. Its main components are the necrotic cholesteryl ester rich core from which the disease process gets part of its name (the Greek stem “athero” means gruel or porridge) and the fibrous (sclerotic) cap which contains predominantly smooth muscle cells which often become encased in their own synthesis products of collagen, elastin and proteoglycans. Typically, many of these cells and their surrounding intercellular matrix show abundant lipids which are demonstrable both chemically and morphologically. These major components are responsible for most of the signs and symptoms and most of the life-threatening effects of atherosclerosis which result in its being the leading cause of death and morbidity in the urban-industrial countries of the world, especially in Europe and North America.


Smooth Muscle Cell Cholesteryl Ester Familial Hypercholesterolemia Familial Hypercholesterolemia Atherosclerotic Process 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert W. Wissler
    • 1
  1. 1.The Department of Pathology and The Specialized Center of Research in AtherosclerosisThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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