Vascular smooth muscle (VSM) developmental origins.
The image and table below summarize the embryonic origins and the final mosaic distribution of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) in the aorta and its major branch arteries.
Cranial neural crest cells (1) can differentiate into VSMCs in the walls of branchial arch arteries and also migrate to the cardiac outflow tract. Mesoangioblasts (2) are multipotent progenitor cells in the hypaxial dermomyotome that express both myogenic and endothelial cell markers. These cells migrate to the developing dorsal aorta. Secondary heart field cells (3) differentiate into VSMCs at the base portions of the aorta or pulmonary trunk. Proepicardium (4) is a transient primordium that arises from septum transversum mesenchyme. Proepicardium cells can differentiate into VSMCs in the walls of coronary arteries. Somite-derived (5) VSMCs are located within the aorta. Splanchnic mesoderm cells (6) can differentiate into the VSMCs that coat internal organs, such as kidney, liver, stomach, and intestines. The mesonthelium (7) is an early tissue lining most internal organs. Mesonthelium cells can differentiate into VSMCs in mesenteric arteries leading to the pleural-peritoneal and epicardial coelom. Various sources of adult stem/progenitor cells (8 - gray outline) can differentiate both locally and systemically to adult VSMCs in the aorta and arteries.