Vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and monocytes/macrophages represent major players in atherosclerotic vascular diseases. In addition to physiological and pathological roles of each cell type in atherosclerosis, dynamic interplay between SMCs and monocytes/macrophages may contribute to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis more critically than previously understood. Activated macrophages accelerate pro-atherogenic functions of SMCs in vascular lesions. Activated SMCs promote additional accumulation of pro-inflammatory macrophages through expression of chemoattractants. More recent evidence suggests the interchangeability between SMC and monocyte/macrophage lineages. Future efforts to understand such dynamic interactions between SMCs and macrophages may provide novel insight into the pathogenesis of vascular disease and the development of new classes of medical solutions.
Part of the book: Muscle Cell and Tissue