Cellular FXIII in Human Macrophage-Derived Foam Cells

Laura Somodi, Emőke Horváth, Helga Bárdos, Barbara Baráth, Dávid Pethő, Éva Katona, József Balla, Nicola J Mutch, László Muszbek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Macrophages express the A subunit of coagulation factor XIII (FXIII-A), a transglutaminase which cross-links proteins through Nε-(γ-L-glutamyl)-L-lysyl iso-peptide bonds. Macrophages are major cellular constituents of the atherosclerotic plaque; they may stabilize the plaque by cross-linking structural proteins and they may become transformed into foam cells by accumulating oxidized LDL (oxLDL). The combination of oxLDL staining by Oil Red O and immunofluorescent staining for FXIII-A demonstrated that FXIII-A is retained during the transformation of cultured human macrophages into foam cells. ELISA and Western blotting techniques revealed that the transformation of macrophages into foam cells elevated the intracellular FXIII-A content. This phenomenon seems specific for macrophage-derived foam cells; the transformation of vascular smooth muscle cells into foam cells fails to induce a similar effect. FXIII-A containing macrophages are abundant in the atherosclerotic plaque and FXIII-A is also present in the extracellular compartment. The protein cross-linking activity of FXIII-A in the plaque was demonstrated using an antibody labeling the iso-peptide bonds. Cells showing combined staining for FXIII-A and oxLDL in tissue sections demonstrated that FXIII-A-containing macrophages within the atherosclerotic plaque are also transformed into foam cells. Such cells may contribute to the formation of lipid core and the plaque structurization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4802
Journal International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2023


  • Humans
  • Foam Cells/metabolism
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic/metabolism
  • Macrophages/metabolism
  • Atherosclerosis/metabolism
  • Lipoproteins, LDL/metabolism
  • Factor XIII/metabolism
  • Peptides/metabolism
  • foam cells
  • transglutaminase
  • enzyme-modified LDL
  • atherosclerotic plaque
  • macrophages
  • cross-linking
  • factor XIII
  • oxidized LDL
  • vascular smooth muscle cells


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