1. Pediatric Research Institute, The Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children's Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325027, China.
2. Children's Heart Center, Institute of Cardiovascular Development and Translational Medicine, The Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying children's Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325027, China.
3. The Institute of Life Sciences, Wenzhou University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China.
#These authors contributed equally to this work.
Normally, smooth muscle cells (SMCs) are localized in the tunica media of the vasculature, where they take responsibility for vascular contraction and extracellular matrix (ECM) generation. SMCs also play a significant role in obedience and elastic rebound of the artery in response to the haemodynamic condition. However, under pathological or stressed conditions, phenotype switching from contractile to synthetic state or other cell types will occur in SMCs to positively or negatively contribute to disease progression. Various studies demonstrated that functional changes of SMCs are implicated in several cardiovascular diseases. In this review, we present the function of vascular SMCs (VSMCs) and the involved molecular mechanisms about phenotype switching, and summarize the roles of SMCs in atherosclerosis, hypertension, arterial aneurysms and myocardial infarction, hoping to obtain potential therapeutic targets against cardiovascular disease in the clinical practices.
Keywords: smooth muscle cells, cardiovascular disease, phenotype switching, arterial aneurysms