What are pericyte cells?
Pericyte cells can be found embedded in the membrane that surrounds capillaries and venules. The location of these cells allows them to play a significant role in the repair process by communicating with endothelial cells through paracrine signaling or direct contact. This cellular communication is the driving force behind vascular repair, the inflammatory response, constructing new blood vessels (angiogenesis), and the removal of toxins from the tissues.
These cells have long been known to play a significant role in the endothelial tissue repair process, but recent studies have shown pericyte cells to possess mesenchymal repair properties as well. Researchers have harnessed the potency and self-renewal characteristics of pericytes and developed a new method for stem cell therapy. This newer version of regenerative therapy has shown some promise in treating the following orthopedic conditions:
- Muscle injuries
- Cartilage injuries
- Ligament and tendon injuries
Similar to stromal vascular fraction, pericytes are harvested using lipoaspiration (liposuction). These cells are isolated using a closed filtration process. The resulting tissue graft is typically injected into the injured area of interest.