Discovering cardiac pericytes biology: From physiopathological mechanisms to potential therapeutic applications in ischemic heart disease

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Abstract

Microvascular pericytes and the more recently discovered adventitial pericyte-like progenitor cells are a subpopulation of vascular stem cells closely associated with small and large blood vessels respectively. These populations of perivascular cells are remarkably abundant in the heart. Pericytes control important physiological processes such as angiogenesis, blood flow and vascular permeability. In the heart, this pleiotropic activity makes pericytes extremely interesting for applications in regenerative medicine. On the other hand, dysfunction of pericytes could participate in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease, such as arterial hypertension, fibro-calcific cardiovascular remodeling, myocardial edema and post-ischemic coronary no-reflow. On a therapeutic standpoint, preclinical studies in small animal models of myocardial infarction have demonstrated the healing potential of pericytes transplantation, which has been ascribed to direct vascular incorporation and paracrine pro-angiogenic and anti-apoptotic activities. These promising findings open the door to the clinical use of pericytes for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages10
JournalVascular Pharmacology
Volume86
Early online date5 Jun 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2016

Keywords

  • Cardiac pericyte
  • Heart
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Perivascular cell
  • Vascular stem cell
  • Adventitial progenitors
  • Myocardial infarction

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