The development of collateral circulation is an inherent compensatory mechanism to restore impaired blood perfusion following artery stenosis and/or occlusion. This process, termed arteriogenesis, is driven by inflammation and involves a complex remodeling of pre-existing conduit vessels running in parallel to the occluded artery. Recent studies have unveiled roles for different immune cell subsets as regulators of arteriogenesis, including natural killer (NK) cells, T helper 17 (Th17) cells, regulatory T lymphocytes (Tregs), and functional subsets of macrophages (e.g., M2 macrophages). This review summarizes recent findings and discusses future research needed to better define the time during which each cellular subset is active and reveal further critical regulatory switches.
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