Smooth Muscle Metabolic Reactivity in Atherogenesis: LDL Metabolism and Response to Serum Mitogens Differ According to Phenotype
Smooth muscle is the only cell type present in the media of mammalian arteries1, and is therefore responsible for maintaining tension via contraction-relaxation and arterial integrity by proliferation and synthesis of connective tissue elements2. To accomplish this multiplicity of functions the smooth muscle cell is capable of expressing a range of phenotypes3. At one end of the spectrum is the smooth muscle cell whose major function is contraction (contractile phenotype) with its cytoplasm filled with thick and thin myofilaments4 5,6. The vast majority of smooth muscle cells in the media of an adult aorta are in this phenotype. At the other end of the spectrum is the smooth muscle cell whose cytoplasm lacks thick filaments but contains scattered bundles of thin filaments and large amounts of rough endoplasmic reticulum, free ribosomes and Golgi, which are organelles associated with synthesis of both extracellular and intracellular material. These cells are in a synthetic state (hence the term synthetic phenotype) and are present in developing and regenerating smooth muscle tissues7, and also in atherosclerotic plaques8,9.
KeywordsSmooth Muscle Cell Synthetic State Arterial Smooth Muscle Cell Contractile State Smooth Muscle Tissues7
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