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Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) are the predominant cell type in the blood vessel wall and normally adopt a quiescent, contractile phenotype. VSMC migration is tightly controlled, however, disease associated changes in the soluble and insoluble environment promote VSMC migration. Classically, studies investigating VSMC migration have described the influence of soluble factors. Emerging data has highlighted the importance of insoluble factors, including extracellular matrix stiffness and porosity. In this review, we will recap on the important signalling pathways that regulate VSMC migration and reflect on the potential importance of emerging regulators of VSMC function.
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