Recent results have demonstrated that cell function is affected by local mechanical environment [1]. In vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), for example, substrate stiffness can control phenotype expression and migration rate [2]. Pathologies, such as atherosclerosis, and therapeutic interventions, such as stents, can alter VSMCs’ mechanical environment. The primary function of VSMCs is vascular tone modulation via contraction and relaxation and loss of VSMCs’ contractile function may play a role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerotic plaques and restenosis of stents. To date, it is not known whether perturbation of the mechanical environment directly affects contractile function in these diseased vessels.

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