Pericytes, an overlooked player in vascular pathobiology

David Ferland-McCollough, Sadie Slater, Jai Richard, Carlotta Reni, Giuseppe Mangialardi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)
293 Downloads (Pure)


Pericytes are a heterogeneous population of cells located in the blood vessel wall. They were first identified in the 19th century by Rouget, however their biological role and potential for drug targeting have taken time to be recognised. Isolation of pericytes from several different tissues has allowed a better phenotypic and functional characterization. These findings revealed a tissue-specific, multi-functional group of cells with multilineage potential. Given this emerging evidence, pericytes have acquired specific roles in pathobiological events in vascular diseases. In this review article, we will provide a compelling overview of the main diseases in which pericytes are involved, from well-established mechanisms to the latest findings. Pericyte involvement in diabetes and cancer will be discussed extensively. In the last part of the article we will review therapeutic approaches for these diseases in light of the recently acquired knowledge. To unravel pericyte-related vascular pathobiological events is pivotal not only for more tailored treatments of disease but also to establish pericytes as a therapeutic tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-42
Number of pages13
JournalPharmacology and Therapeutics
Early online date1 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Cancer stem cells
  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Pericyte fibrosis
  • Pericytes
  • Perivascular stem cells


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