Tracking Adventitial Fibroblast Contribution to Disease: A Review of Current Methods to Identify Resident Fibroblasts

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Cells present in the adventitia, or outermost layer of the blood vessel, contribute to the progression of vascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, and aortic dissection. The adventitial fibroblast of the aorta is the prototypic perivascular fibroblast, but the adventitia is composed of multiple distinct cell populations. Therefore, methods for uniquely identifying the fibroblast are critical for a better understanding of how these cells contribute to disease processes. A popular method for distinguishing adventitial cell types relies on the use of genetic tools in the mouse to trace and manipulate these cells. Because lineage tracing relying on Cre-recombinase expressing mice is used more frequently in studies of vascular disease, it is important to outline the advantages and limitations of these genetic tools. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the various genetic tools available in the mouse for the study of resident adventitial fibroblasts.

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