Smooth muscle cells (SMC) are primary contributors to the development of arterial disease. The ability of vascular SMC to switch to a proliferative phenotype is one of the main factors in the development and progression of vascular disease. Recent studies have demonstrated that SMC express calcium channels, ICAM-1, and VCAM-1. The expression of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 on SMC may contribute to the inflammatory reaction in the vascular wall and may play an active role in the progression of vascular disease. Rat Aortic Smooth Muscle Cells allows to perform in vitro assays in vascular disease research.
SMC are long and thin in structure and arrange around tissues in layers. They do not contain any sarcomeres and few nuclei but Myosin appears scattered throughout the cell. Dense-bodies attach to actin filaments in the muscle sarcoplasm, this prevents the actin molecules moving during contraction. The dense-bodies also connect other smooth muscle cells and appears arranged randomly throughout the fibres.