Pericytes in the Retina

  • Andrea TrostEmail author
  • Daniela Bruckner
  • Francisco J. Rivera
  • Herbert A. Reitsamer
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1122)


Pericytes (PCs) are specialized cells located abluminal of endothelial cells (ECs) on capillaries, embedded within the same basement membrane. They are essential regulators of vascular development, remodeling, and blood-retina-barrier (BRB) tightness and are therefore important components to maintain tissue homeostasis. The perivascular localization and expression of contractile proteins suggest that PCs participate in capillary blood flow regulation and neurovascular coupling. Due to their ability to differentiate into various cell types in vitro, they are regarded as potential cells for tissue repair and therapeutic approaches in regenerative medicine. Altered function or loss of PCs is associated with a multitude of CNS diseases, including diabetic retinopathy (DR). In this chapter, we will provide a short overview of retinal vascular development, the origin of PCs, and focus on PCs in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and in the diabetic retina. Further, animal models to study the fate of PCs and the potential role of (retinal) PCs in regeneration and wound healing will be discussed.


Pericyte Retina Origin Pericyte marker PDGFRb NG2 tbx18 Diabetic retinopathy (DR) Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) Wound healing Regeneration 





Blood-brain barrier


Bone marrow


Blood-retina barrier


Central nervous system


Diabetic macular edema


Diabetic retinopathy


Endothelial cells


Inner nuclear layer


Inner and outer plexiform layer


Mesenchymal stem cells


Neuron-glial antigen 2


Neurovascular unit


Optic nerve


Outer nuclear layer


Postnatal day 0




PDGF-receptor beta


Retinal pigment epithelial cells

tbx 18

T-box family transcription factor 18


Transforming growth factor beta


Vascular endothelial growth factor


Vascular smooth muscle cells


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Trost
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniela Bruckner
    • 1
  • Francisco J. Rivera
    • 2
    • 3
  • Herbert A. Reitsamer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OphthalmologyUniversity Clinic of Ophthalmology and Optometry, Research Program for Experimental Ophthalmology and Glaucoma Research, Paracelsus Medical University/SALKSalzburgAustria
  2. 2.Institute of Mol. Regenerative Medicine, Spinal Cord Injury and Tissue Regeneration Center Salzburg (SCI-TReCS), Paracelsus Medical University SalzburgSalzburgAustria
  3. 3.Laboratory of Stem Cells and NeuroregenerationInstitute of Anatomy, Histology and Pathology, Faculty of Medicine and Center for Interdisciplinary Studies on the Nervous System (CISNe), Universidad Austral de ChileValdiviaChile

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