Atherosclerosis and Atheroma Plaque Rupture: Normal Anatomy of Vasa Vasorum and Their Role Associated with Atherosclerosis
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Atherosclerosis is primarily a degenerative disorder related to aging with a chronic inflammatory component. There are differences in expression among different vascular beds, inflicting a range of vascular diseases. The majority of studies focus on the inner and medial vascular layers, which are affected at the development of atherosclerosis. Recent evidence shows that the outer layer of blood vessels, composed of the adventitial layer and the vasa vasorum, not only plays a significant role in maintaining vessel integrity, but also reacts to atheroma. What is not clear is the extent of contribution of the outer layer to the process of atherosclerosis. Is it involved in the initiation, progression, and clinical expression of atheroma? Is the inflammation associated with atheroma limited to being merely reactive or is there a proactive element? This paper provides an overview of the normal anatomy of vasa vasorum and potential mechanism of plaque formation due to vascular injury (vasa vasorum) and microhemorrhage.
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