Novel insights into pericyte-myofibroblast transition and therapeutic targets in renal fibrosis

Fan Chi Chang, Yu Hsiang Chou, Yi Ting Chen, Shuei Liong Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Renal fibrosis is a disease affecting millions worldwide and is a harbinger of progressive renal failure. Understanding the mechanisms of renal fibrosis is important for discovering new therapies that are required to prevent loss of renal function. Recently, we identified pericytes that line the kidney microvasculature as the precursor cells of the scar-producing myofibroblasts during kidney injury. Kidney pericytes are extensively branched cells embedded within the capillary basement membrane and stabilize the capillary network through tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 3 and angiogenic growth factors. Pericytes detach from endothelial cells and migrate into the interstitial space where they undergo a transition into myofibroblasts after injury. Activation of endothelium, pericyte-myofibroblast transition, and recruitment of inflammatory macrophages lead to capillary rarefaction and fibrosis. Targeting endothelium-pericyte crosstalk by inhibiting vascular endothelial cell growth factor receptors and platelet-derived growth factor receptors in response to injury have been identified as new therapeutic interventions. Furthermore, targeting macrophage activation has also been proven as a novel and safe therapeutic approach for pericyte-myofibroblast transition. However, we are still far from understanding the interaction between pericytes and other cellular elements in normal physiology and during kidney fibrosis. Further studies will be required to translate into more specific therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-598
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Endothelial cell
  • Macrophage
  • Myofibroblast
  • Pericyte
  • Renal fibrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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