Nanoparticles as agents targeting cholesterol crystallization in atherosclerosis

Yana Anfinogenova, Maria Shvedova, Sergey V. Popov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article introduces a hypothesis on nanoparticle-mediated modulation of cholesterol crystal behaviour in the atherosclerotic plaques. The role of cholesterol crystals in progression of atherosclerosis is emphasized. Proposed mechanism of spontaneous cholesterol crystal formation in the organism is discussed. Mechanisms and factors associated with the nanoparticle-mediated modulation of cholesterol crystal behaviour are proposed. Authors hypothesize that specially designed nanoparticles may therapeutically modulate cholesterol crystal behaviour in atherosclerosis. Nano-sized agents used in stent coatings and imaging techniques can possibly prevent cholesterol crystallization in the diseased vessels. On the other hand, new nanotechnologies should be implemented with caution as certain types of nanoparticles could become crystal seeds for cholesterol deposited in the atherosclerotically damaged vascular walls causing destabilization of the plaques. Studying nanoparticle-induced alterations of cholesterol crystal formation requires multidisciplinary approach involving biomedical researchers, computer scientists, and physical chemists specializing in crystal growth. The proposed hypothesis on nanoparticle-mediated modulation of cholesterol crystal behaviour may be relevant to other medical conditions including gallbladder stones, arthritis, and ophthalmological diseases such as synchysis scintillans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-22
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017



  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cholesterol crystals
  • Nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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