The adventitia: essential regulator of vascular wall structure and function

Annu Rev Physiol. 2013;75:23-47. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-030212-183802. Epub 2012 Dec 3.

Abstract

The vascular adventitia acts as a biological processing center for the retrieval, integration, storage, and release of key regulators of vessel wall function. It is the most complex compartment of the vessel wall and is composed of a variety of cells, including fibroblasts, immunomodulatory cells (dendritic cells and macrophages), progenitor cells, vasa vasorum endothelial cells and pericytes, and adrenergic nerves. In response to vascular stress or injury, resident adventitial cells are often the first to be activated and reprogrammed to influence the tone and structure of the vessel wall; to initiate and perpetuate chronic vascular inflammation; and to stimulate expansion of the vasa vasorum, which can act as a conduit for continued inflammatory and progenitor cell delivery to the vessel wall. This review presents the current evidence demonstrating that the adventitia acts as a key regulator of vascular wall function and structure from the outside in.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adventitia / cytology
  • Adventitia / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / cytology*
  • Blood Vessels / physiology*
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / physiology
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Macrophages / physiology
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • Stress, Physiological / physiology
  • Vasa Vasorum / cytology
  • Vasa Vasorum / physiology