NOTCH3 as a modulator of vascular disease: a target in elastin deficiency and arterial pathologies

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The Journal of clinical investigation


During blood vessel disease, vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) expansion and interaction with the matrix trigger changes in gene expression and phenotype. In this issue of the JCI, Dave et al. discover a signaling network that drives VSMC expansion and vascular obstruction caused by elastin insufficiency. Using a combination of gene-targeted mice, tissues and cells from patients with Williams-Beuren syndrome, and targeting of elastin in human VSMCs, the authors identified VSMC-derived NOTCH3 signaling as a critical mediator of aortic hypermuscularization and loss of vascular patency. NOTCH3-specific therapies or therapies that target downstream molecular pathways may provide opportunities to minimize VSMC growth and treat cardiovascular disease with minimal side effects.