Vascular remodeling represents a spectrum of structural changes whereby the vascular wall responds to changes in its hemodynamic environment. Such changes may be classified as vessel enlargement (outward remodeling), diminution (inward remodeling), alternatively as adaptive (compensatory, appropriate to the hemodynamic stimulus), or maladaptive (dysfunctional, inappropriate). The direction and scale of remodeling are coordinated by endothelial production of growth factors, proteases, and cellular adhesion molecules in response to sensed changes in blood flow. In early atherosclerosis, outward remodeling preserves lumen size. Although protective in the long-term, the matrix degradation involved in this process may predispose atherosclerotic plaques to rupture, hence increasing the risks of acute coronary syndromes. Inward remodeling also occurs in advanced atherosclerotic lesions, whereby the vessel shrinks rather than enlarging, exacerbating rather than ameliorating stenosis. In transplant coronary artery disease, early inward remodeling may be a more important component of vessel stenosis than intimal thickening, while inappropriate inward remodeling appears to be as least as important as excessive intimal growth in the development of restenosis after angioplasty. Increased awareness of vascular remodeling, and in particular its malaptive forms, may provide new therapeutic insights for the future.
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View details for PubMedID 10413382