Human aortic smooth muscle cells (HAoSMCs) from Promocell (Heidelberg, Germany), rat aortic smooth muscle cells (A-10, CRL 1476) from American Type Culture Collection (USA), human monocytic leukemia cells (THP1) and human hepatocellular carcinoma cells (HepG2) from Riken CELL BANK (Ibaraki, Japan), and human keratinocyte cells (HaCaT) from Cell Lines Service (Eppelheim, Germany) were purchased. Cells were cultured using the appropriate medium and supplements recommended by the suppliers. Successive experiments using HAoSMCs were performed with passage 4–8 cultures. Human monocytes were separated from peripheral blood samples using Lymphocyte Separation Solution (Nacalai Tesque, Kyoto, Japan) as described49 and incubated in RPMI1640 medium containing 10% fetal bovine serum for 3–4 days for differentiation into macrophages.

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