Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) are the stromal cells of the vascular wall and are responsible for regulating arterial tone, blood pressure, and blood supply of the tissues. VSMCs display diversity in function and phenotype depending on their location within the arterial tree (large conduit vs. small resistance vessels), their embryologic origin, and their organ-dependent microenvironment. The heterogeneity of VSMCs is regulated by multiple mechanisms including intracellular signaling and changes in the VSMC microenvironment. Genetic disorders and extrinsic stimuli-induced dysfunction in VSMCs are associated with age-related vascular pathogenesis and vascular diseases, and thus are considered as a potential therapeutic target.
Part of the book: Muscle Cell and Tissue