As many as 70% of cells in atherosclerotic plaque are vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) in origin, and pathways and proteins which regulate VSMC migration, proliferation, and phenotype modulation represent novel targets for rational drug design to reduce atherosclerotic vascular disease. In this volume of Clinical Science, Karle et al. demonstrate that tumor suppressor, promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) plays an important role in regulation of VSMC phenotype and response to inflammatory stimuli (Clin Sci (2021) 135(7), 887-905; DOI: 10.1042/CS20201399). This important work demonstrates that PML, previously unrecognized as a participant in development of atherosclerosis, may represent a novel target for anti-atherosclerotic therapeutic modalities.

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