Brain pericytes (BrPCs) are essential cellular components of the central nervous system neurovascular unit involved in the regulation of blood flow, blood-brain barrier function, as well as in the stabilization of the vessel architecture. More recently, it became evident that BrPCs, besides their regulatory activities in brain vessel function and homeostasis, have pleiotropic functions in the adult CNS ranging from stromal and regeneration promoting activities to stem cell properties. This special characteristic confers BrPC cell plasticity, being able to display features of other cells within the organism. BrPCs might also be causally involved in certain brain diseases. Due to these properties BrPCs might be potential drug targets for future therapies of neurological disorders. This review summarizes BrPC properties, disorders in which this cell type might be involved, and provides suggestions for future therapeutic developments targeting BrPCs.
Useful keywords (using NLM MeSH Indexing)
Central Nervous System Diseases/pathology*
Central Nervous System Diseases/physiopathology