Oxidized ldls as signaling molecules

Jean Marc Zingg, Adelina Vlad, Roberta Ricciarelli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Levels of oxidized low-density lipoproteins (oxLDLs) are usually low in vivo but can increase whenever the balance between formation and scavenging of free radicals is impaired. Under normal conditions, uptake and degradation represent the physiological cellular response to oxLDL exposure. The uptake of oxLDLs is mediated by cell surface scavenger receptors that may also act as signaling molecules. Under conditions of atherosclerosis, monocytes/macrophages and vascular smooth muscle cells highly exposed to oxLDLs tend to convert to foam cells due to the intracellular accumulation of lipids. Moreover, the atherogenic process is accelerated by the increased expression of the scavenger receptors CD36, SR-BI, LOX-1, and SRA in response to high levels of oxLDL and oxidized lipids. In some respects, the effects of oxLDLs, involving cell proliferation, inflammation, apoptosis, adhesion, migration, senescence, and gene expression, can be seen as an adaptive response to the rise of free radicals in the vascular system. Unlike highly reactive radicals, circulating oxLDLs may signal to cells at more distant sites and possibly trigger a systemic antioxidant defense, thus elevating the role of oxLDLs to that of signaling molecules with physiological relevance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1184
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Inflammation
  • NFκB
  • NRF2
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Noncoding RNAs
  • PI3K
  • PKB/AKt
  • PPARγ
  • Scavenger receptor CD36
  • Stem cells
  • Vitamin E
  • α-tocopherol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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