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Smooth Muscle Cell Hypertrophy, Proliferation, Migration and Apoptosis in Pulmonary Hypertension

  1. Tamara Tajsic,
  2. Nicholas W. Morrell

Published Online: 1 NOV 2010

DOI: 10.1002/cphy.c100026

Comprehensive Physiology

Comprehensive Physiology

How to Cite

Tajsic, T. and Morrell, N. W. 2010. Smooth Muscle Cell Hypertrophy, Proliferation, Migration and Apoptosis in Pulmonary Hypertension. Comprehensive Physiology. 1:295–317.

Author Information

  1. Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 NOV 2010


Pulmonary hypertension is a multifactorial disease characterized by sustained elevation of pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) and pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP). Central to the pathobiology of this disease is the process of vascular remodelling. This process involves structural and functional changes to the normal architecture of the walls of pulmonary arteries (PAs) that lead to increased muscularization of the muscular PAs, muscularization of the peripheral, previously nonmuscular, arteries of the respiratory acinus, formation of neointima, and formation of plexiform lesions. Underlying or contributing to the development of these lesions is hypertrophy, proliferation, migration, and resistance to apoptosis of medial cells and this article is concerned with the cellular and molecular mechanisms of these processes. In the first part of the article we focus on the concept of smooth muscle cell phenotype and the difficulties surrounding the identification and characterization of the cell/cells involved in the remodelling of the vessel media and we review the general mechanisms of cell hypertrophy, proliferation, migration and apoptosis. Then, in the larger part of the article, we review the factors identified thus far to be involved in PH intiation and/or progression and review and discuss their effects on pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) the predominant cells in the tunica media of PAs. © 2011 American Physiological Society. Compr Physiol 1:295-317, 2011.