Figure 1. Schematic view of efferocytosis (imbalance between red vs. green area). Red zone, area with defective efferocytosis. Green zone, area with normal efferocytosis. Apoptotic cells in the growing atherosclerotic plaque are not recognized for efficient phagocytic clearance by macrophages. Impaired efferocytosis contributes to development of atherosclerosis. As a result, foam cells accumulate and the lesion expand with subsequent secondary necrosis in the apoptotic tissue. the end product of this cascade is vascular inflammation and instability of the lesion.