The Emerging Role of Pericyte-Derived Extracellular Vesicles in Vascular and Neurological Health

Kushal Sharma, Yunpei Zhang, Keshav Raj Paudel, Allan Kachelmeier, Philip M. Hansbro, Xiaorui Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Pericytes (PCs), as a central component of the neurovascular unit, contribute to the regenerative potential of the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS) by virtue of their role in blood flow regulation, angiogenesis, maintenance of the BBB, neurogenesis, and neuroprotection. Emerging evidence indicates that PCs also have a role in mediating cell-to-cell communication through the secretion of extracellular vesicles (EVs). Extracellular vesicles are cell-derived, micro- to nano-sized vesicles that transport cell constituents such as proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids from a parent originating cell to a recipient cell. PC-derived EVs (PC-EVs) play a crucial homeostatic role in neurovascular disease, as they promote angiogenesis, maintain the integrity of the blood-tissue barrier, and provide neuroprotection. The cargo carried by PC-EVs includes growth factors such as endothelial growth factor (VEGF), connecting tissue growth factors (CTGFs), fibroblast growth factors, angiopoietin 1, and neurotrophic growth factors such as brain-derived neurotrophic growth factor (BDNF), neuron growth factor (NGF), and glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), as well as cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, and MCP-1. The PC-EVs also carry miRNA and circular RNA linked to neurovascular health and the progression of several vascular and neuronal diseases. Therapeutic strategies employing PC-EVs have potential in the treatment of vascular and neurodegenerative diseases. This review discusses current research on the characteristic features of EVs secreted by PCs and their role in neuronal and vascular health and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3108
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • PC-derived extracellular vesicle
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • angiogenesis
  • blood–brain barrier
  • neuroprotection
  • pericyte
  • peripheral neuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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