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Extensive vascular remodelling occurs during development, in response to injury and recent studies have shown that vasculature formed from host cells perfuse cardiac grafts established from injected stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (1). The origin of cells in new vessels in grafts is not clear. To investigate whether pre-existing vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) can be induced to stimulate neo-vascularisation after MI, we have used clonal VSMC lineage tracing in models where VSMCs proliferation is induced acutely. We found that whereas adult VSMCs are largely quiescent in healthy tissue, a small subset of VSMCs are activated and expand clonally after vascular injury. This observation suggests that there is an unexploited cellular reserve that potentially can be activated  to improve re-vascularisation.



Chappell, J., Harman, J.L., Narasimhan, V.M., Yu, H., Foote, K., Simons, B.D., Bennett, M.R., and Jørgensen, H.F. (2016). Extensive Proliferation of a Subset of Differentiated, yet Plastic, Medial Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells Contributes to Neointimal Formation in Mouse Injury and Atherosclerosis Models. Circulation Research 119, 1313–1323.