Pericytes for the treatment of orthopedic conditions

Aaron W. James, Paul Hindle, Iain R. Murray, Christopher C. West, Tulyapruek Tawonsawatruk, Jia Shen, Greg Asatrian, Xinli Zhang, Vi Nguyen, A. Hamish Simpson, Kang Ting, Bruno Péault, Chia Soo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Pericytes and other perivascular stem cells are of growing interest in orthopedics and tissue engineering. Long regarded as simple regulators of angiogenesis and blood pressure, pericytes are now recognized to have MSC (mesenchymal stem cell) characteristics, including multipotentiality, self-renewal, immunoregulatory functions, and diverse roles in tissue repair. Pericytes are typified by characteristic cell surface marker expression (including αSMA, CD146, PDGFRβ, NG2, RGS5, among others). Although alone no marker is absolutely specific for pericytes, collectively these markers appear to selectively identify an MSC-like pericyte. The purification of pericytes is most well described as a CD146+ CD34 CD45 cell population. Pericytes and other perivascular stem cell populations have been applied in diverse orthopedic applications, including both ectopic and orthotopic models. Application of purified cells has sped calvarial repair, induced spine fusion, and prevented fibrous non-union in rodent models. Pericytes induce these effects via both direct and indirect mechanisms. In terms of their paracrine effects, pericytes are known to produce and secrete high levels of a number of growth and differentiation factors both in vitro and after transplantation. The following review will cover existing studies to date regarding pericyte application for bone and cartilage engineering. In addition, further questions in the field will be pondered, including the phenotypic and functional overlap between pericytes and culture-derived MSC, and the concept of pericytes as efficient producers of differentiation factors to speed tissue repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-103
Number of pages11
JournalPharmacology and Therapeutics
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Bone
  • Cartilage
  • MSC
  • Mesenchymal stem cell
  • PSC
  • Perivascular stem cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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