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Keywords:

  • pericyte;
  • mesenchymal stem cell

We have identified vascular pericytes in multiple human organs on expression of CD146, NG2, PDGF-Rβ, and mesenchymal stem cell markers (CD44, CD73, CD90, CD105) and absence of blood, endothelial, and myogenic cell markers. Pericytes purified from all tissues were myogenic in culture and in vivo, sustained long-term culture during which they expressed markers of mesenchymal stem cells, and exhibited, at the clonal level, osteogenic, chondrogenic, and adipogenic potentials. These results suggest that human capillary and microvessel walls all over the organism harbor a reserve of progenitor cells that are at the origin of the elusive mesenchymal stem cells, so far identified only retrospectively in primary tissue cultures.