Pericytes in the Lung

  • Chi F. Hung
  • Carole L. Wilson
  • Lynn M. SchnappEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1122)


The lung has numerous roles, including gas exchange, immune surveillance, and barrier function. Being a highly vascularized organ, the lung receives dual blood supply from both the pulmonary and bronchial circulation. Therefore, pericytes likely play a prominent role in lung physiology given their localization in the perivascular niche. New genetic approaches have increased our understanding of the origin and the diverse functions of lung pericytes. Lung pericytes are myofibroblast progenitors, contributing to development of fibrosis in mouse models. Lung pericytes are also capable of responding to danger signals and amplify the inflammatory response through elaboration of cytokines and adhesion molecules. In this chapter, we describe the molecular, anatomical, and phenotypical characterization of lung pericytes. We further highlight their potential roles in the pathogenesis of lung diseases including pulmonary fibrosis, asthma, and pulmonary hypertension. Finally, current gaps in knowledge and areas of ongoing investigation in lung pericyte biology are also discussed.


Lung pericytes PDGFRβ Lung development Lung myofibroblasts Pulmonary fibrosis Lung injury Lung inflammation 



The authors thank all the members of the Schnapp and Hung laboratories who have contributed to studies described in this chapter. We also thank Seth Bollenbecker for providing the artwork in Fig. 3.3.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chi F. Hung
    • 1
  • Carole L. Wilson
    • 2
  • Lynn M. Schnapp
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy and Sleep MedicineMedical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA

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