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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2014 Jan;71(2):299-309. doi: 10.1007/s00018-013-1432-z. Epub 2013 Aug 4.

Recruitment and retention: factors that affect pericyte migration.

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  • 1Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 6000 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX, 75390-8593, USA.


Pericytes are critical for vascular morphogenesis and contribute to several pathologies, including cancer development and progression. The mechanisms governing pericyte migration and differentiation are complex and have not been fully established. Current literature suggests that platelet-derived growth factor/platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β, sphingosine 1-phosphate/endothelial differentiation gene-1, angiopoietin-1/tyrosine kinase with immunoglobulin-like and EGF-like domains 2, angiopoietin-2/tyrosine kinase with immunoglobulin-like and EGF-like domains 2, transforming growth factor β/activin receptor-like kinase 1, transforming growth factor β/activin receptor-like kinase 5, Semaphorin-3A/Neuropilin, and matrix metalloproteinase activity regulate the recruitment of pericytes to nascent vessels. Interestingly, many of these pathways are directly affected by secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC). Here, we summarize the function of these factors in pericyte migration and discuss if and how SPARC might influence these activities and thus provide an additional layer of control for the recruitment of vascular support cells. Additionally, the consequences of targeted inhibition of pericytes in tumors and the current understanding of pericyte recruitment in pathological environments are discussed.

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