Embryonic Heterogeneity of Smooth Muscle Cells in the Complex Mechanisms of Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Smooth muscle cells (SMCs) are the major cell type of the aortic wall and play a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAAs). TAAs occur in a region-specific manner with the proximal region being a common location. In this region, SMCs are derived embryonically from either the cardiac neural crest or the second heart field. These cells of distinct origins reside in specific locations and exhibit different biological behaviors in the complex mechanism of TAAs. The purpose of this review is to enhance understanding of the embryonic heterogeneity of SMCs in the proximal thoracic aorta and their functions in TAAs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1618
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors’ aortic aneurysm-related research work is supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (R35HL155649) and the American Heart Association SFRN in Vascular Disease (18SFRN33900001). The content in this review is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • aneurysm
  • aorta
  • cardiac neural crest
  • second heart field
  • smooth muscle
  • thoracic aorta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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