© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that leads to several acute cardiovascular complications with poor prognosis. For decades, the role of the adventitial vasa vasorum (VV) in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis has received broad attention. The presence of VV neovascularization precedes the apparent symptoms of clinical atherosclerosis. VV also mediates inflammatory cell infiltration, intimal thickening, intraplaque hemorrhage, and subsequent atherothrombosis that results in stroke or myocardial infarction. Intraplaque neovessels originating from VV can be immature and hence susceptible to leakage, and are thus regarded as the leading cause of intraplaque hemorrhage. Evidence supports VV as a new surrogate target of atherosclerosis evaluation and treatment. This review provides an overview into the relationship between VV and atherosclerosis, including the anatomy and function of VV, the stimuli of VV neovascularization, and the available underlying mechanisms that lead to poor prognosis. We also summarize translational researches on VV imaging modalities and potential therapies that target VV neovascularization or its stimuli.
Xu, J., Lu, X., & Shi, G. P. (2015, May 20). Vasa vasorum in atherosclerosis and clinical significance. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. MDPI AG. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160511574