VSMCs in culture have been widely used as a model of VSMC proliferation, migration and differentiation in the artery wall [34, 49]. Analysis of the regulators of VSMC growth and migration provide insights into the role of VSMCs in the development of atherosclerosis, re-stenosis and hypertension. Most studies however, have used animal cells in culture and animal models of balloon injury and subsequent repair. Consequently, many drugs have been discovered that inhibit VSMC migration and proliferation in animal re-stenosis models, such as rat carotid artery balloon injury, but most have been unsuccessful in human trials. These studies in particular have highlighted the necessity for the generation of human tissue culture models of functional VSMC phenotypes. Human VSMC cultures are therefore of great use in preliminary drug analysis for re-stenosis research. Preliminary evaluation of a drug in monolayer culture, followed by further evaluation in a system such a human saphenous vein 'organ' culture, may prove more informative than animal studies, as these models of human VSMC migration and proliferation may more closely resemble the human in vivo VSMC environment .
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