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      Contribution of adventitial fibroblasts to neointima formation and vascular remodeling: from innocent bystander to active participant.

      Circulation Research

      transplantation, Antigens, Differentiation, metabolism, Arterial Occlusive Diseases, pathology, Arteries, embryology, surgery, Cell Differentiation, Cell Division, Cell Movement, Animals, Disease Progression, Fibroblasts, Humans, Morphogenesis, Muscle, Smooth, Vascular, Tunica Intima, Veins

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          The adventitial layer surrounding the blood vessels has long been exclusively considered a supporting tissue the main function of which is to provide adequate nourishment to the muscle layers of tunica media. Although functionally interconnected, the adventitial and medial layers are structurally interfaced at the external elastic lamina level, clearly distinguishable at the maturational phase of vascular morphogenesis. Over the last few years the "passive" role that the adventitia seemed to play in experimental and spontaneous vascular pathologies involving proliferation, migration, differentiation, and apoptosis of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) has been questioned. It has been demonstrated that fibroblasts from the adventitia display an important partnership with the resident medial VSMCs in terms of phenotypic conversion, proliferation, apoptotic, and migratory properties the result of which is neointima formation and vascular remodeling. This article is an attempt at reviewing the major themes and more recent findings dealing with the phenotypic conversion process that leads adventitial "passive" (static) fibroblasts to become "activated" (mobile) myofibroblasts. This event shows some facets in common with vascular morphogenesis, ie, the process of recruitment, incorporation, and phenotypic conversion of cells surrounding the primitive endothelial tube in the definitive vessel wall. We hypothesize that during the response to vascular injuries in the adult, "activation" of adventitial fibroblasts is, at least in part, reminiscent of a developmental program that also invests, although with distinct spatiotemporal features, medial VSMCs.

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