What is a Pericyte?
Hall, Catherine N.
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Pericytes, spatially-isolated contractile cells on capillaries, have been reported to control cerebral blood flow physiologically, and to limit blood flow after ischaemia by constricting capillaries and then dying. Paradoxically, a recent paper dismisses the idea of pericytes controlling cerebral blood flow, despite confirming earlier data showing a role for pericytes. We show that these discrepancies are apparent rather than real, and depend on the new paper defining pericytes differently from previous reports. An objective definition of different sub-classes of pericyte along the capillary bed is needed to develop novel therapeutic approaches for stroke and disorders caused by pericyte malfunction.