Molecular determinants of vascular smooth muscle cell diversity

Tadashi Yoshida, Gary K. Owens

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

251 Citations (Scopus)


Although the primary role of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) is contraction, they exhibit extensive phenotypic diversity and plasticity during normal development, during repair of vascular injury, and in disease states. Results of recent studies indicate that there are unique as well as common transcriptional regulatory mechanisms that control expression of various SMC marker genes in distinct SMC subtypes, and that these mechanisms are complex and dynamic even at the single cell level. This article will review recent progress in our understanding of the transcriptional regulatory mechanisms involved in controlling expression of SMC marker genes with a particular focus on examination of processes that contribute to the phenotypic diversity of SMCs. In addition, because of considerable controversy in the literature regarding the relationship between phenotypically modulated SMCs and myofibroblasts, we will briefly consider both similarities and differences in regulation of gene expression between these cell types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-291
Number of pages12
JournalCirculation research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Feb 18
Externally publishedYes


  • Myofibroblasts
  • Serum response factor
  • Smooth muscle cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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