Atherosclerosis and its consequences, such as heart attacks and strokes, constitute the leading causes of death in Western countries. Where damage to the vessel wall occurs, many different macrophages, scavenger cells of the immune system, are present. However, little is known about how their composition and population change during the course of the disease.
This is where Alma Zernecke-Madsen from the University Hospital Würzburg comes in. To uncover the spatial and temporal factors that lead to macrophage differentiation, she is modeling the lesions using single-cell RNA sequencing in a project at the Single-Cell Center Würzburg together with Clément Cochain from the University Hospital Würzburg. A better understanding of the molecular processes involved in atherosclerosis could lead to the development of new therapies and diagnostic methods in the future.