The pathogenesis of atherosclerosis
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The normal artery is divided into three layers: the intima, media and adventitia. The adventitia consists of connective and adipose tissue, and its function is to relate the vessel to the surrounding tissues. It plays no part in the development of atherosclerosis and will not be considered further here. The media consists of smooth muscle cells, concentrically and longitudinally arranged. It is separated from the adventitia by the external elastic lamina and from the intima by the much more distinct fenestrated internal elastic lamina. The intima lines the luminal surface of the artery and consists of a thin layer of connective tissue containing, in the normal older artery, a small number of smooth muscle cells, and a single layer of epithelium-like endothelial cells. Atherosclerosis is a disease of the intima and inner media. The cells involved in the process are therefore endothelial and smooth muscle cells.
KeywordsSmooth Muscle Cell Lipoprotein Lipase Smooth Muscle Cell Proliferation Fatty Streak Arterial Smooth Muscle Cell
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