The Vascular Stem Cell Niche
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- Gómez-Gaviro, M.V., Lovell-Badge, R., Fernández-Avilés, F. et al. J. of Cardiovasc. Trans. Res. (2012) 5: 618. doi:10.1007/s12265-012-9371-x
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Stem cells in adult organs reside in specialized niches that regulate their proliferation and differentiation. Investigations during the last few years have unveiled a regulatory role for blood vessels in these microenvironments. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are located surrounding capillaries in a variety of tissues and have the capacity to differentiate into different mesodermal lineages. Angiogenic progenitor cells have also been found in the adventitial layer of large vessels. In the bone marrow, endothelial cells control hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) release, and in the brain, blood vessels regulate neural stem cell (NSC) self-renewal and neurogenesis. Similarly, perivascular progenitor cells have also been found in the heart. This intimate connection between stem cells and the vasculature contributes to tissue homeostasis and repair. In this review, we focus on the regulation of stem and progenitor cells in different adult niches by blood vessels and the few mechanisms that are known to mediate this interaction.