Author(s): Berk BC
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Abstract Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) exhibit several growth responses to agonists that regulate their function including proliferation (hyperplasia with an increase in cell number), hypertrophy (an increase in cell size without change in DNA content), endoreduplication (an increase in DNA content and usually size), and apoptosis. Both autocrine growth mechanisms (in which the individual cell synthesizes and/or secretes a substance that stimulates that same cell type to undergo a growth response) and paracrine growth mechanisms (in which the individual cells responding to the growth factor synthesize and/or secrete a substance that stimulates neighboring cells of another cell type) are important in VSMC growth. In this review I discuss the autocrine and paracrine growth factors important for VSMC growth in culture and in vessels. Four mechanisms by which individual agonists signal are described: direct effects of agonists on their receptors, transactivation of tyrosine kinase-coupled receptors, generation of reactive oxygen species, and induction/secretion of other growth and survival factors. Additional growth effects mediated by changes in cell matrix are discussed. The temporal and spatial coordination of these events are shown to modulate the environment in which other growth factors initiate cell cycle events. Finally, the heterogeneous nature of VSMC developmental origin provides another level of complexity in VSMC growth mechanisms.
This article was published in Physiol Rev
and referenced in Journal of Molecular Histology & Medical Physiology