Purification and culture of central nervous system pericytes

Cold Spring Harb Protoc. 2014 Jun 2;2014(6):581-3. doi: 10.1101/pdb.top070888.


Pericytes are found on the abluminal surface of endothelial tubes. The function of these cells is still being elucidated, but they have been shown to be important for development and maintenance of the blood-brain barrier, regulation of angiogenesis and capillary blood flow, and regulation of the neural response to injury and disease. Previously used methods to isolate pericytes have relied on negative selection and prolonged culture of microvessel cells and may lead to populations of pericytes contaminated by other neural cell types. We have developed an immunopanning protocol to specifically purify pericytes from capillaries in the rodent optic nerve. This method relies on a combination of negative and positive selection criteria and allows prospective, acute isolation of pericytes. Use of this method will facilitate studies of pericyte cell biology and function and pericyte-endothelial cell interactions.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cell Separation / methods*
  • Immunologic Techniques / methods*
  • Optic Nerve / cytology*
  • Pericytes / physiology*
  • Rodentia