Targeting Pericyte Differentiation as a Strategy to Modulate Kidney Fibrosis in Diabetic Nephropathy

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Abstract

Pericytes are a heterogeneous group of extensively branched cells located in microvessels where they make focal contacts with endothelium. Pericytes stabilize blood vessels, regulate vascular tone, synthesize matrix, participate in repair, and serve as progenitor cells, among other functions. Recent work has highlighted the role of pericytes and pericyte-like cells in fibrosis, in which chronic injury triggers pericyte proliferation and differentiation into collagen-secretory, contractile myofibroblasts with migration away from vessels, causing microvascular rarefaction. In this review the developmental origins of kidney pericytes and perivascular fibroblasts are summarized, pericyte to myofibroblast transition in type I diabetic nephropathy is discussed, and the regulation of pericyte differentiation into myofibroblasts as a therapeutic target for treatment of diabetic nephropathy is described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-470
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Nephrology
Volume32
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

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