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J Cell Physiol. 2016 Apr;231(4):777-87. doi: 10.1002/jcp.25208. Epub 2015 Oct 8.

Smooth Muscle Cell Differentiation: Model Systems, Regulatory Mechanisms, and Vascular Diseases.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.


Smooth muscle cell (SMC) differentiation is an important process during vascular development. The highly differentiated mature SMCs play critical roles in maintaining structural and functional integrity of blood vessels. However, SMCs are not terminally differentiated, and their phenotype can be modulated between contractile and proliferative states in response to various environmental conditions. Alterations in SMC phenotype contribute to a number of major cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, hypertension and restenosis following angioplasty, etc. The goal of this review is to provide a brief overview of the recent advancements in our understanding of SMC differentiation and the development of in vitro SMC differentiation models, with a particular emphasis on examination of molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of SMC differentiation and phenotypic modulation. J. Cell. Physiol. 231: 777-787, 2016.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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