Smooth muscle cells in human coronary atherosclerosis can originate from cells administered at marrow transplantation

Noel M. Caplice, T. Jared Bunch, Paul G. Stalboerger, Shaohua Wang, David Simper, Dylan V. Miller, Stephen J. Russell, Mark R. Litzow, William D. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

285 Scopus citations


Atherosclerosis is the major cause of adult mortality in the developed world, and a significant contributor to atherosclerotic plaque progression involves smooth muscle cell recruitment to the intima of the vessel wall. Controversy currently exists on the exact origin of these recruited cells. Here we use sex-mismatched bone marrow transplant subjects to show that smooth muscle cells throughout the atherosclerotic vessel wall can derive from donor bone marrow. We demonstrate extensive recruitment of these cells in diseased compared with undiseased segments and exclude cell-cell fusion events as a cause for this enrichment. These data have broad implications for our understanding of the cellular components of human atherosclerotic plaque and provide a potentially novel target for future diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4754-4759
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2003



  • Bone marrow
  • Chimerism
  • Intima
  • Plaque
  • Precursor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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