Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) play important roles in the physiology and pathophysiology of the blood vessels. In a healthy adult organism, VSMCs are quiescent, but after a blood vessel injury, they undergo phenotypic modulation from the contractile phenotype to the synthetic phenotype, characterized by high activity in migration, proliferation and proteosynthesis. This behavior of VSMCs can lead to stenosis or obliteration of the vascular lumen. For this reason, VSMCs have tended to be avoided in the construction of blood vessel replacements. However, VSMCs are a physiological and the most numerous component of blood vessels, so their presence in novel advanced vascular replacements is indispensable. Either differentiated VSMCs or stem cells as precursors of VSMCs can be used in the reconstruction of the tunica media in these replacements. VSMCs can be obtained from blood vessels (usually from subcutaneous veins) taken surgically from the patients and can be expanded in vitro. During in vitro cultivation, VSMCs lose their differentiation markers, at least partly. These cells should therefore be re-differentiated by seeding them on appropriate scaffolds by composing cell culture media and by mechanical stimulation in dynamic bioreactors. Similar approaches can also be applied for differentiating stem cells, particularly adipose tissue-derived stem cells, toward VSMCs for the purposes of vascular tissue engineering.
Part of the book: Muscle Cell and Tissue
Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) play important roles not only in the physiological functions of the blood vessels, such as vasoconstriction, vasodilatation and extracellular matrix production, but also in the pathogenesis of vascular diseases, particularly atherosclerosis and hypertension. VSMCs are mostly of mesodermal origin, although some are of neuroectodermal origin, for example, VSMCs present in the aorta and in blood vessels arising from the aortic arch. VSMCs of neuroectodermal origin are implicated in defects of cardiovascular morphogenesis, such as bicuspid aortic valve, coarctation of the aorta, patent ductus arteriosus and tetralogy of Fallot. The origin, location in the vascular tree, gender, species, strain and age influence the phenotype of VSMCs and their propensity to migration and growth. In a healthy adult organism, VSMCs have a quiescent and differentiated contractile phenotype characterized by early markers (e.g., SM α-actin, SM22-α), intermediate markers (h-caldesmon, calponin) and late markers (SM myosins, smoothelin) of VSMC differentiation. However, after blood vessel injury, surgery or explantation in vitro, VSMCs undergo a phenotypic modulation to synthetic phenotype, which endows them with high activity in migration, growth and proteosynthesis. These features can lead to stenosis or to obliteration of the vascular lumen and impaired blood supply to various tissues and organs.
Part of the book: Muscle Cell and Tissue
Nanofibrous scaffolds belong to the most suitable materials for tissue engineering, because they mimic the fibrous component of the natural extracellular matrix. This chapter is focused on the application of nanofibers in skin tissue engineering and wound healing, because the skin is the largest and vitally important organ in the human body. Nanofibrous meshes can serve as substrates for adhesion, growth and differentiation of skin and stem cells, and also as an antimicrobial and moisture-retaining barrier. These meshes have been prepared from a wide range of synthetic and nature-derived polymers. This chapter is focused on the use of nature-derived polymers. These polymers have good or limited degradability in the human tissues, which depends on their origin and on the presence of appropriate enzymes in the human tissues. Non-degradable and less-degradable polymers are usually produced in bacteria, fungi, algae, plants or insects, and include, for example, cellulose, dextran, pullulan, alginate, pectin and silk fibroin. Well-degradable polymers are usually components of the extracellular matrix in the human body or at least in other vertebrates, and include collagen, elastin, keratin and hyaluronic acid, although some polymers produced by non-vertebrate organisms, such as chitosan or poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate), are also degradable in the human body.
Part of the book: Current and Future Aspects of Nanomedicine