Perivascular-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells

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Cells have been identified in postnatal tissues that, when isolated from multiple mesenchymal compartments, can be stimulated in vitro to give rise to cells that resemble mature mesenchymal phenotypes, such as odontoblasts, osteoblasts, adipocytes, and myoblasts. This has made these adult cells, collectively called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), strong candidates for fields such as tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Based on evidence from in vivo genetic lineage–tracing studies, pericytes have been identified as a source of MSC precursors in vivo in multiple organs, in response to injury or during homeostasis. Questions of intense debate and interest in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative studies include the following: 1) Are all pericytes, irrespective of tissue of isolation, equal in their differentiation potential? 2) What are the mechanisms that regulate the differentiation of MSCs? To gain a better understanding of the latter, recent work has utilized ChIP-seq (chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing) to reconstruct histone landscapes. This indicated that for dental pulp pericytes, the odontoblast-specific gene Dspp was found in a transcriptionally permissive state, while in bone marrow pericytes, the osteoblast-specific gene Runx2 was primed for expression. RNA sequencing has also been utilized to further characterize the 2 pericyte populations, and results highlighted that dental pulp pericytes are already precommitted to an odontoblast fate based on enrichment analysis indicating overrepresentation of key odontogenic genes. Furthermore, ChIP-seq analysis of the polycomb repressive complex 1 component RING1B indicated that this complex is likely to be involved in inhibiting inappropriate differentiation, as it localized to a number of loci of key transcription factors that are needed for the induction of adipogenesis, chondrogenesis, or myogenesis. In this review, we highlight recent data elucidating molecular mechanisms that indicate that pericytes can be tissue-specific precommitted MSC precursors in vivo and that this precommitment is a major driving force behind MSC differentiation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number002203451986225
Pages (from-to)1066-1072
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Dental Research
Issue number10
Early online date5 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


  • epigenetics
  • mesenchymal stromal cell
  • pericytes
  • perivascular stem cell
  • regeneration
  • tissue repair


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