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Eur Cell Mater. 2016 Apr 10;31:236-49.

Pericyte plasticity - comparative investigation of the angiogenic and multilineage potential of pericytes from different human tissues.

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AO Research Institute Davos, Clavadelerstrasse 8, 7270 Davos Platz,


Pericyte recruitment is essential for the stability of newly formed vessels. It was also suggested that pericytes represent common ancestor cells giving rise to mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in the adult. Here, we systematically investigated pericytes and MSCs from different human tissues in terms of their angiogenic and multilineage differentiation potential in vitro in order to assess the suitability of the different cell types for the regeneration of vascularised tissues. Magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS®) was used to enrich CD34-CD146+ pericytes from adipose tissue (AT) and bone marrow (BM). The multilineage potential of pericytes was assessed by testing their capability to differentiate towards osteogenic, adipogenic and chondrogenic lineage in vitro. Pericytes and endothelial cells were co-seeded on Matrigel™ and the formation of tube-like structures was examined to study the angiogenic potential of pericytes. MSCs from AT and BM were used as controls. CD34-CD146+ cells were successfully enriched from AT and BM. Only BM-derived cells exhibited trilineage differentiation potential. AT-derived cells displayed poor chondrogenic differentiation upon stimulation with transforming growth factor-β1. Interestingly, osteogenic differentiation was more efficient in AT-PC and BM-PC compared to the respective full MSC population. Matrigel™ assays revealed that pericytes from all tissues integrated into tube-like structures. We show that MACS®-enriched pericytes from BM and AT have the potential to regenerate tissues of different mesenchymal lineages and support neovascularisation. MACS® represents a simple enrichment strategy of cells, which is of particular interest for clinical application. Finally, our results suggest that the regenerative potential of pericytes depends on their tissue origin, which is an important consideration for future studies.

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