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Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 175–193 | Cite as

Brain Pericytes: Emerging Concepts and Functional Roles in Brain Homeostasis

  • Masahiro Kamouchi
  • Tetsuro Ago
  • Takanari Kitazono
Review Paper

Abstract

Brain pericytes are an important constituent of neurovascular unit. They encircle endothelial cells and contribute to the maturation and stabilization of the capillaries in the brain. Recent studies have revealed that brain pericytes play pivotal roles in a variety of brain functions, such as regulation of capillary flow, angiogenesis, blood brain barrier, immune responses, and hemostasis. In addition, brain pericytes are pluripotent and can differentiate into different lineages similar to mesenchymal stem cells. The brain pericytes are revisited as a key player to maintain brain function and repair brain damage.

Keywords

Angiogenesis Blood brain barrier Mesenchymal stem cell Microvasculature Pericyte 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was partially supported by Coordination, Support and Training Program for Translational Research and Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C 19590992, C 22590937) from The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. We are grateful to Dr. Masanori Wakisaka for his helpful comments.

Conflict of interest

None.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masahiro Kamouchi
    • 1
  • Tetsuro Ago
    • 1
  • Takanari Kitazono
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medicine and Clinical Science, Graduate School of Medical SciencesKyushu UniversityHigashi-kuJapan

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