A Missing LNC in Vascular Diseases
This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.
Pericytes are vascular smooth muscle cells that stabilize the endothelial networks that comprise the microvasculature. There is increased interest in the role that these cells play in maintaining the architecture, permeability, and remodeling of the microvasculature. Furthermore, these cells may be a source of regenerative cells that participate in the response to injury and ischemia. Bischoff et al1 have comprehensively characterized a novel determinant of pericyte function and suggest its possible role in heart failure.
Article, see p 368
Pericytes and Vascular Homeostasis
Pericytes are important players on the vascular stage, finally getting the spotlight that they deserve in maintaining microvascular homeostasis. These cells comprise the mural layer of arterioles, venules, and lymphatics, and they bear great similarity to vascular smooth muscle cells of the conduit arteries, expressing contractile proteins and maintaining a close apposition to the endothelium. However, accumulating evidence indicates that these cells also play a critical role in the response to injury and ischemia. Accordingly, it is important to understand the molecular mechanisms that control the proliferation of pericytes and their interaction with the endothelial cells of the microvasculature. The Dimmeler group has contributed much to our understanding of vascular homeostasis and the mechanisms that go awry in the pathobiology of vascular disease. In the current investigation, they introduce an intriguing new determinant of pericyte behavior that becomes most apparent during hypoxia.1
Dimmeler et al began by characterizing their cells, to ensure that they were working with authentic human pericytes. Their human pericytes expressed proteins that have been used as markers for pericytes, including PDGF-Rβ (platelet-derived growth factor receptor β), …