Mesenchymal stem cells and their relationship to pericytes
Da Silva Meirelles, L.; Bellagamba, B.C.; Camassola, M.; Nardi, N.B.
Frontiers in Bioscience 21(1): 130-156
Our body contains cells that can be propagated in vitro and give rise to cells with mature mesenchymal phenotypes. These cells are interesting not only because of their differentiation capability, which could be used for tissue engineering, but also because they secrete molecules which have trophic, chemoattractant, and immunomodulatory properties. Along decades of study, these cells have been referred to as fibroblastic cells, stromal cells, or mesenchymal stem cells. There is evidence that pericytes, cells that wrap endothelial cells in blood vessels, behave as stem cells in the tissues, and give rise to these progenitor cells when removed from the body and expanded in culture - a process that may reflect changes that occur in vivo under injury conditions. Here, we discuss the evidence that favors this thesis, and discuss culture methods, clinical and preclinical applications of mesenchymal stem cells under this perspective.