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New look at heart disease may reduce stroke, heart attack

A long-overlooked function of vascular smooth muscle cells in atherosclerosis has been identified by researchers. Atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaques in the arteries, leads to myocardial infarction and stroke and is the major cause of death in the Western world. It is a chronic inflammatory disease of the arteries arising from interactions of modified lipoproteins and various cell types including monocyte-derived macrophages from the blood and smooth muscle cells (SMCs) in the vessel wall.
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