Smooth muscle cell phenotypes in atherosclerotic lesions

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Recently, there has been a dramatic change in the way we think about the role of vascular smooth muscle cells in atherosclerosis, and it is now generally accepted that a dearth of vascular smooth muscle cells in an atherosclerotic plaque is a detrimental feature of the disease. Indeed, it is now recognized that the phenotypes of vascular smooth muscle cells within a plaque dictate its features, progression and stability. Therefore an understanding of the processes that generate and regulate vascular smooth muscle cell heterogeneity are of critical importance for future therapeutic advancement in the treatment of atherosclerosis.

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