In many organs and tissues, the cellular response to injury is associated with a reiteration of specific developmental processes. Studies have shown that, in response to injury, vascular wall cells in adult organisms express genes or gene products characteristic of earlier developmental states. Other genes, expressed preferentially in adult cells in vivo, are down-regulated following injurious stimuli. Complicating matters, however, are recent observations demonstrating that the vascular wall is comprised of phenotypically heterogeneous subpopulations of endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and fibroblasts. It is unclear how specific subsets of cells respond to injury and thus contribute to the vascular remodeling that characterizes chronic pulmonary hypertension. This review discusses vascular development in the lung and the cellular responses occurring in pulmonary hypertension; special attention is given to heterogeneity of responses within cell populations and reiteration of developmental processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-144
Number of pages56
JournalAnnual review of physiology
StatePublished - 1997


  • endothelial cells
  • fibroblasts
  • lung development
  • pulmonary hypertension
  • smooth muscle cells
  • vascular development
  • vascular injury


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