Pericytes in the myovascular niche promote post-natal myofiber growth and satellite cell quiescence

Development. 2015 Apr 1;142(7):1242-53. doi: 10.1242/dev.115386. Epub 2015 Mar 5.


The satellite cells, which serve as adult muscle stem cells, are both located beneath myofiber basement membranes and closely associated with capillary endothelial cells. We observed that 90% of capillaries were associated with pericytes in adult mouse and human muscle. During post-natal growth, newly formed vessels with their neuroglial 2 proteoglycan (NG2)-positive pericytes became progressively associated with the post-natal muscle stem cells, as myofibers increased in size and satellite cells entered into quiescence. In vitro, human muscle-derived pericytes promoted myogenic cell differentiation through insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) and myogenic cell quiescence through angiopoietin 1 (ANGPT1). Diphtheria toxin-induced ablation of muscle pericytes in growing mice led both to myofiber hypotrophy and to impaired establishment of stem cells quiescence. Similar effects were observed following conditional in vivo deletion of pericyte Igf1 and Angpt1 genes, respectively. Our data therefore demonstrate that, by promoting post-natal myogenesis and stem cell quiescence, pericytes play a key role in the microvascular niche of satellite cells.

Keywords: Human; Mouse; Pericytes; Post-natal development; Satellite cell differentiation; Satellite cell quiescence; Skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Angiopoietin-1 / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cell Cycle*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Gene Deletion
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Muscle Development
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / cytology*
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic*
  • Pericytes / cytology*
  • Pericytes / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / cytology*
  • Satellite Cells, Skeletal Muscle / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Young Adult


  • Angiopoietin-1
  • Angpt1 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I