One of the Primary Functions of Tissue-Resident Pluripotent Pericytes Cells May Be to Regulate Normal Organ Growth and Maturation: Implications for Attempts to Repair Tissues Later in Life

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 May 14;23(10):5496. doi: 10.3390/ijms23105496.


Adult mesenchymal stem cells were reported more than 30 years ago. Since then, their potential to repair and regenerate damaged or diseased tissues has been studied intensively in both preclinical models and human trials. Most of the need for such tissue repair/regeneration is in older populations, so much of the effort has been performed with autologous cells in older patients. However, success has been difficult to achieve. In the literature, it has been noted that such progenitor cells from younger individuals often behave with more vigorous activity and are functionally enhanced compared to those from older individuals or animals. In addition, cells with the characteristics of mesenchymal stem cells or pluripotent mesenchymal regulatory cells exist in nearly all tissues and organs as pericytes since fetal life. Such evidence raises the possibility that one of the primary roles of these organ-specific cells is to regulate organ growth and maturation, and then subsequently play a role in the maintenance of organ integrity. This review will discuss the evidence to support this concept and the implications of such a concept regarding the use of these progenitor cells for the repair and regeneration of tissues damaged by injury or disease later in life. For the latter, it may be necessary to return the organ-specific progenitor cells to the functional state that contributed to their effectiveness during growth and maturation rather than attempting to use them after alterations imposed during the aging process have been established and their function compromised.

Keywords: M; growth and maturation; organ growth; organ-specific cells; pluripotent mesenchymal regulatory cells; tissue-specific pericytes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult Stem Cells*
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells* / physiology
  • Pericytes
  • Stem Cells / physiology

Grant support

This research received no external funding.