Renal pericytes: Multifunctional cells of the kidneys

Stefańska Am, Bruno Peault, John Mullins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pericytes have become a hot topic in renal biology. They play a critical physiological role in vessel development, maintenance and remodelling through active communication with their vascular partners - endothelial cells - and modulation of extracellular matrix proteins. Multiple functions for renal pericytes have been described; specialised perivascular populations participate in glomerular filtration, regulate medullary blood flow and contribute to kidney fibrosis by differentiation into collagen-generating myofibroblasts. Interestingly, the origin of renin-producing cells of the juxtaglomerular region is attributed to the perivascular cell lineage; we have observed the coincidence of renin and pericyte marker expression during human kidney development. Finally, pericytes have been shown to share features with mesenchymal stem cells, which places them as potential renal progenitor cell candidates. Since renal diseases are often associated with microvascular complications, renal pericytes may emerge as new targets for the treatment of kidney disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-773
Number of pages7
JournalPflügers Archiv European Journal of Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Kidney development
  • Kidney fibrosis
  • Mesangial cell
  • Pericyte
  • Renal arteriole
  • Renin
  • Stem cell


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