Oxysterols, and particularly 7-ketocholesterol, appear to be strongly involved in the physiopathology of atherosclerosis. These molecules are suspected to be cytotoxic to the cells of the vascular wall and monocytes/macrophages, particularly by inducing apoptosis. Previous studies have demonstrated that 7-ketocholesterol-induced apoptosis is triggered by a sustained increase of cytosolic-free Ca2+, which elicits the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis by activation of the calcium-dependent phosphatase calcineurin, leading to dephosphorylation of the 'BH3 only' protein BAD. However, thorough study of the results suggests that other pathways are implicated in 7-ketocholesterol-induced cytotoxicity. In this study, we demonstrate the involvement of two other calcium-dependent pathways during 7-ketocholesterol-induced apoptosis. The activation of the MEK-->ERK pathway by the calcium-dependent tyrosine kinase PYK 2, a survival pathway which delays apoptosis as shown by the use of the MEK inhibitor U0126, and a pathway involving another pro-apoptotic BH3 only protein, Bim. Indeed, 7-ketocholesterol treatment of human monocytic THP-1 cells induces the release of Bim-LC8 from the microtubule-associated dynein motor complex, and its association with Bcl-2. Therefore, it appears that 7-ketocholesterol-induced apoptosis is a complex phenomenon resulting from calcium-dependent activation of several pro-apoptotic pathways and also one survival pathway.