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Stem Cell Rev. 2009 Dec;5(4):437-45. doi: 10.1007/s12015-009-9097-6.

Bone marrow derived pluripotent cells are pericytes which contribute to vascularization.

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State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases, West China College of Stomatology, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, People's Republic of China.

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  • Stem Cell Rev. 2009 Dec;5(4):435-6.


Pericytes are essential to vascularization, but the purification and characterization of pericytes remain unclear. Smooth muscle actin alpha (alpha-SMA) is one marker [corrected] of pericytes. The aim of this study is to purify the alpha-SMA positive cells from bone marrow and study the characteristics of these cells and the interaction between alpha-SMA positive cells and endothelial cells. The bone marrow stromal cells were harvested from alpha-SMA-GFP transgenic mice, and the alpha-SMA-GFP positive cells were sorted by FACS. The proliferative characteristics and multilineage differentiation ability of the alpha-SMA-GFP positive cells were tested. A 3-D culture model was then applied to test their vascularization by loading alpha-SMA-GFP positive cells and endothelial cells on collagen-fibronectin gel. Results demonstrated that bone marrow stromal cells are mostly alpha-SMA-GFP positive cells which are pluripotent, and these cells expressed alpha-SMA during differentiation. The alpha-SMA-GFP positive cells could stimulate the endothelial cells to form tube-like structures and subsequently robust vascular networks in 3-D culture. In conclusion, the bone marrow derived pluripotent cells include [corrected] pericytes and can contribute to vascularization.

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