Regulation of VSMC behavior by the cadherin-catenin complex

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2011 Jan 1;16:644-57. doi: 10.2741/3711.


Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) are the predominant cell type within blood vessels. In normal vessels VSMC have low rates of proliferation, migration and apoptosis. However, increased VSMC proliferation, migration, and apoptosis rates radically alter the composition and structure of the blood vessel wall and contribute to vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, in-stent restenosis and vein graft failure. Consequently, therapies that modulate VSMC proliferation, migration and apoptosis may be useful for treating vascular diseases. In this review article we discuss recently emerging research that has revealed that homophilic cell-cell contacts mediated by the cadherin:catenin complex and Wnt/beta-catenin signalling are important regulators of VSMC behaviour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Atherosclerosis / drug therapy
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology
  • Cadherins / physiology*
  • Catenins
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology*
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / etiology
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / physiopathology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Wnt Proteins / physiology
  • beta Catenin / physiology*


  • Cadherins
  • Catenins
  • Wnt Proteins
  • beta Catenin