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Pericytes, the mural cells of blood microvessels, have recently come into focus as regulators of vascular morphogenesis and function during development, cardiovascular homeostasis, and disease. Pericytes are implicated in the development of diabetic retinopathy and tissue fibrosis, and they are potential stromal targets for cancer therapy. Some pericytes are probably mesenchymal stem or progenitor cells, which give rise to adipocytes, cartilage, bone, and muscle. However, there is still confusion about the identity, ontogeny, and progeny of pericytes. Here, we review the history of these investigations, indicate emerging concepts, and point out problems and promise in the field of pericyte biology.
Division of Vascular Biology, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institute, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden; Institute of Neuropathology, University Hospital Zürich, CH-8091 Zürich, Switzerland.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Developmental cell
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Unique slender cells with multiple processes extending along the capillary vessel axis and encircling the vascular wall, also called mural cells. Pericytes are imbedded in the BASEMENT MEMBRANE shared with the ENDOTHELIAL CELLS of the vessel. Pericytes are important in maintaining vessel integrity, angiogenesis, and vascular remodeling.
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