Vascular smooth muscle cells in cerebral aneurysm pathogenesis

Transl Stroke Res. 2014 Jun;5(3):338-46. doi: 10.1007/s12975-013-0290-1. Epub 2013 Oct 10.


Vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC) maintain significant plasticity. Following environmental stimulation, SMC can alter their phenotype from one primarily concerned with contraction to a pro-inflammatory and matrix remodeling phenotype. This is a critical process behind peripheral vascular disease and atherosclerosis, a key element of cerebral aneurysm pathology. Evolving evidence demonstrates that SMCs and phenotypic modulation play a significant role in cerebral aneurysm formation and rupture. Pharmacological alteration of smooth muscle cell function and phenotypic modulation could provide a promising medical therapy to inhibit cerebral aneurysm progression. This study reviews vascular SMC function and its contribution to cerebral aneurysm pathophysiology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / etiology
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / metabolism
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / pathology*
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / pathology*
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / pathology*