Abstract / Description of output
Clonal expansion refers to the proliferation and selection of advantageous ‘clones’ that are better suited for survival in a Darwinian manner. In recent years we have greatly enhanced our understanding of cell clonality in the cardiovascular context. However, our knowledge of the underlying mechanisms behind this clonal selection is still severely limited. There is a transpiring pattern of clonal expansion of smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells, and in some cases macrophages, in numerous cardiovascular diseases irrespective of their differing microenvironments. These findings indirectly suggest the possible existence of stem-like vascular cells which are primed to respond during disease. Subsequent clones may undergo further phenotypic changes to adopt either protective or detrimental roles. By investigating these clone-forming vascular cells, we may be able to harness this inherent clonal nature for future therapeutic intervention. This review comprehensively discusses what is currently known about clonal expansion across the cardiovascular field. Comparisons of the clonal nature of vascular cells in atherosclerosis (including clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential), pulmonary hypertension, aneurysm, blood vessel injury, ischemia and tumor induced angiogenesis, and cerebral cavernous malformations are evaluated. Finally, we discuss the potential clinical implications of these findings and propose that proper understanding and specific targeting of these clonal cells may provide unique therapeutic options for the treatment of these cardiovascular conditions.