Wnt signaling in cardiovascular physiology
Marinou K., Christodoulides C., Antoniades C., Koutsilieris M.
Wnt signaling pathways play a key role in cardiac development, angiogenesis, and cardiac hypertrophy; emerging evidence suggests that they are also involved in the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis. Specifically, an important role for Wnts has been described in the regulation of endothelial inflammation, vascular calcification, and mesenchymal stem cell differentiation. Wnt signaling also induces monocyte adhesion to endothelial cells and is crucial for the regulation of vascular smooth-muscle cell (VSMC) behavior. We discuss how the Wnt pathways are implicated in vascular biology and outline the role of Wnt signaling in atherosclerosis. Dissecting Wnt pathways involved in atherogenesis and cardiovascular disease may provide crucial insights into novel mechanisms with therapeutic potential for atherosclerosis. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.