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Siarhei A Dabravolski, Alexander M Markin, Elena R Andreeva, Ilya I Eremin, Alexander N Orekhov, Alexandra A Melnichenko

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Oct 1;23(19):11663. doi: 10.3390/ijms231911663.


Pericytes are multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells playing an active role in angiogenesis, vessel stabilisation, maturation, remodelling, blood flow regulation and are able to trans-differentiate into other cells of the mesenchymal lineage. In this review, we summarised recent data demonstrating that pericytes play a key role in the pathogenesis and development of atherosclerosis (AS). Pericytes are involved in lipid accumulation, inflammation, growth, and vascularization of the atherosclerotic plaque. Decreased pericyte coverage, endothelial and pericyte dysfunction is associated with intraplaque angiogenesis and haemorrhage, calcification and cholesterol clefts deposition. At the same time, pericytes can be used as a novel therapeutic target to promote vessel maturity and stability, thus reducing plaque vulnerability. Finally, we discuss recent studies exploring effective AS treatments with pericyte-mediated anti-atherosclerotic, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects.


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