Development of an atheroma, artwork

Development of an atheroma, artwork

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Credit: CLAUS LUNAU/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Development of an atheroma, computer artwork. An atheroma is an accumulation of macrophage white blood cells, lipids (fats), fibrous tissue and other debris between the endothelial lining and smooth muscle wall of an artery. This can greatly reduce the size of the lumen (inner space), causing a reduction in blood flow (ischaemia) to the tissue supplied by the vessel. Here the atheroma eventually bursts (far right), releasing some of its contents into the lumen. These emboli may then travel to other areas of the blood system and cause a blockage (embolism).

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