Pericytes in Atherosclerosis

  • Volha Summerhill
  • Alexander Orekhov
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1147)


Pericytes are pluripotent cells found in the vascular wall of both capillaries and large blood vessels. Pericytes are highly heterogeneous cells in terms of phenotype, tissue distribution, origin and functions, and they play an important role in the regulation of vascular morphogenesis and function. Pericytes were shown to be involved in tissue development and homeostasis, as well as in pathological processes, including atherosclerosis. Both microvascular and macrovascular pericytes form the cellular network of the arterial wall and are actively involved in lipid accumulation, growth, and neovascularization of the atherosclerotic plaque, local inflammation and thrombosis. According to current understanding, pericytes originate from the multipotent stem cells capable of mesenchymal differentiation to oligopotent lineages, such as osteoclasts, chondrocytes, and adipocytes, and also serve as mesenchymal local progenitors in tissues. Pericyte multilineage potential is fundamental for vascular pathology, including atherosclerotic lesion formation. Pericytes express various surface proteins that can be used for their identification in aid of diagnosis and therapeutic strategies for atherosclerosis and other vascular pathologies.


Pericyte Atherosclerosis Cardiovascular diseases Mesenchymal stem cells Endothelial cells Vascular smooth muscle cells Endothelial dysfunction Angiogenesis Differentiation Blood vessels Foam cells Low-density lipids 



Funding: The research was funded by Russian Science Foundation (Grant no. 19-15-00010).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Volha Summerhill
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alexander Orekhov
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of AngiopathologyInstitute of General Pathology and PathophysiologyMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Institute for Atherosclerosis Research Moscow, Skolkovo Innovative CenterMoscowRussia

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