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 Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells

Smooth muscle cells in vivo

  • Histology.
  • Function.

Culture of smooth muscle cells

  • Isolation, identification and culturing of smooth muscle cells.
  • Smooth muscle cell media.
  • Phenotypic modulation of smooth muscle cells in culture (including contractile protein expression, Na+ pump activity, receptor changes and extracellular matrix formation).

Smooth muscle cell signal transduction

  • Signaling pathways (including the role of calcium, protein kinase C, tyrosine kinase and cyclic AMP).
  • Smooth muscle cell agonists (including ATP, serotonin, angiotensin II, endothelin, α 1-adrenergic agonists, prolactin, atrial natriuretic polypeptide, heparin, thrombin, nitric oxide and vasopressin).
  • Growth factors produced by smooth muscle cells (including platelet-derived growth factor, heparin-binding epidermal growth factor, fibroblast growth factor, transforming growth factor β 1 and insulin-like growth factor).


Berk BC . Vascular smooth muscle growth: autocrine growth mechanisms. Physiol Rev 2001;81:999-1030.

VSMCs exhibit several growth responses to agonists that regulate their function including proliferation, hypertrophy, endoreduplication, and apoptosis. This review discusses the autocrine and paracrine growth factors important for VSMC growth in culture and in vessels. Four mechanisms by which individual agonists signal are described: direct effects of agonists on their receptors, transactivation of tyrosine kinase-coupled receptors, generation of reactive oxygen species, and induction/secretion of other growth and survival factors. Additional growth effects mediated by changes in cell matrix are discussed.

Rivard A, Andres V. Vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation in the pathogenesis of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases. Histol Histopathol 2000;15:557-571.

This article reviews the different factors that are involved in the control of VSMC proliferation, especially in the context of cardiovascular disease. Therapeutic approaches that targeted specific cell-cycle control genes or growth regulatory molecules which effectively inhibited neointimal lesion formation are also discussed.

McCarthy NJ , Bennett MR. The regulation of vascular smooth muscle cell apoptosis. Cardiovasc Res 2000;45:747-755.

Apoptosis describes the morphological changes that identify a specific form of regulated cell death. This article reviews the role of apoptosis in the maintenance of vascular homeostasis. Specifically, it addresses the role of vascular smooth muscle cell death, how this may be regulated at the molecular level and whether any of these molecular mediators will provide targets for intervention in diseases such as atherosclerosis.

Williams B. Mechanical influences on vascular smooth muscle cell function. J Hypertens 1998;16:1921-1929.

This review focuses on an emerging field of cardiovascular research in which the direct effects of mechanical strain on VSM cells and isolated blood vessels in organ culture have been characterized, in vitro.

Delafontaine P. Growth factors and vascular smooth muscle cell growth responses. Eur Heart J 1998;19 Suppl G:G18-22.

The accumulation of vascular smooth muscle cells plays an important role in the development of atherosclerotic plaques and in the restenotic process occurring after balloon angioplasty. This paper reviews the role of various growth factors and cytokines in vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and migration.

Posted June 2010