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Stem Cells International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 983059, 18 pages
Review Article

Cellular Kinetics of Perivascular MSC Precursors

1Stem Cell Research Center, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA
2Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA
3Institute for Cell Engineering and Department of Pediatric Oncology, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
4Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH16 4TJ, UK
5Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, University of California at Los Angeles, 615 Charles E. Young Drive South, Los Angeles, CA 90095-7358, USA
6Cell Factory, Fondazione Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, 20122 Milan, Italy
7McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA
8Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh, Queen’s Medical Research Institute, 47 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4TJ, UK

Received 14 May 2013; Accepted 13 July 2013

Academic Editor: Donald G. Phinney

Copyright © 2013 William C. W. Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) and MSC-like multipotent stem/progenitor cells have been widely investigated for regenerative medicine and deemed promising in clinical applications. In order to further improve MSC-based stem cell therapeutics, it is important to understand the cellular kinetics and functional roles of MSCs in the dynamic regenerative processes. However, due to the heterogeneous nature of typical MSC cultures, their native identity and anatomical localization in the body have remained unclear, making it difficult to decipher the existence of distinct cell subsets within the MSC entity. Recent studies have shown that several blood-vessel-derived precursor cell populations, purified by flow cytometry from multiple human organs, give rise to bona fide MSCs, suggesting that the vasculature serves as a systemic reservoir of MSC-like stem/progenitor cells. Using individually purified MSC-like precursor cell subsets, we and other researchers have been able to investigate the differential phenotypes and regenerative capacities of these contributing cellular constituents in the MSC pool. In this review, we will discuss the identification and characterization of perivascular MSC precursors, including pericytes and adventitial cells, and focus on their cellular kinetics: cell adhesion, migration, engraftment, homing, and intercellular cross-talk during tissue repair and regeneration.