Over the past decade, extensive research has focused on identifying the molecular mechanisms and signal transduction pathways involved in the modulation of vascular smooth muscle cell phenotypes. In the present review, the characteristics of vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) phenotypes as they relate to cell migration are discussed based on insights from recent molecular findings. A central theme is the mechanisms involved in nonpathogenic VSMC migration during tissue repair versus VSMC invasion that leads to the development of vascular diseases. The issue of how various factors that are released locally following tissue injury influence cell migration will also be addressed.
Keywords: Cell invasion; Cell migration; Phenotypic remodelling; Signalling pathways; Vascular disease.