Epidemiology of age-related macular degeneration (AMD): associations with cardiovascular disease phenotypes and lipid factors
Human atherosclerotic plaque is composed of a large mixture of elements, predominantly lipids and oxidized lipids, lipid-loaded macrophages and smooth muscle cells, forming foam cells. Plaque contents undergo dynamic changes during the plaque's progression, being in a constant interaction with the circulating blood. During the mutual interaction between blood and plaque and the specific biochemical processes occurring in both, specific molecules can be generated in the serum which might provide information on plaque status. This information, mostly on plaque vulnerability, is highly important for making appropriate treatment decisions before neurological symptoms appear. The present review summarizes plaque contents, mostly lipids, oxidized lipids, oxidized products of cholesterol (oxysterols), and covers the recent literature on their association with biomarkers in the blood and on the possibility of using them for providing information on plaque status.