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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering
SJR: 0.207 SNIP: 0.376 CiteScore™: 0.79

ISSN Print: 0278-940X
ISSN Online: 1943-619X

Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.2016016083
pages 473-489

Targeting the Vessel Underdogs: Therapeutic Approaches for Microvessel Dysfunction in the Heart

Amanda Jo LeBlanc
Department of Physiology, Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, University of Louisville, Kentucky
Christopher D. Nevitt
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, University of Louisville, Kentucky


From an obscure and overlooked beginning, the function of the microvessels in the heart has received increasing attention after the Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation study concluded roughly a decade ago. This review defines the contribution of the coronary microcirculation in the development of heart disease and focuses on the therapeutic methods to reverse coronary microvascular dysfunction. Tissue engineering approaches in the past have largely neglected vascular cells in the attempts to design augmented myocardial tissue, but groups are now making advances that incorporate a functional microcirculation with cardiomyocytes that may advance this line of research. This review covers the definition and classification of coronary microvascular disease, as well as the successful (and unsuccessful) therapeutic approaches in the literature.

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