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Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2014 Sep;297(9):1758-69. doi: 10.1002/ar.22983.

The role of mechanotransduction on vascular smooth muscle myocytes' [corrected] cytoskeleton and contractile function.

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Disease Biophysics Group, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Erratum in

  • Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2015 Mar;298(3):637.


Smooth muscle (SM) exhibits a highly organized structural hierarchy that extends over multiple spatial scales to perform a wide range of functions at the cellular, tissue, and organ levels. Early efforts primarily focused on understanding vascular SM (VSM) function through biochemical signaling. However, accumulating evidence suggests that mechanotransduction, the process through which cells convert mechanical stimuli into biochemical cues, is requisite for regulating contractility. Cytoskeletal proteins that comprise the extracellular, intercellular, and intracellular domains are mechanosensitive and can remodel their structure and function in response to external mechanical cues. Pathological stimuli such as malignant hypertension can act through the same mechanotransductive pathways to induce maladaptive remodeling, leading to changes in cellular shape and loss of contractile function. In both health and disease, the cytoskeletal architecture integrates the mechanical stimuli and mediates structural and functional remodeling in the VSM.


cytoskeleton; mechanotransduction; smooth muscle; tissue mechanics

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