The major components of blood vessels are the vascular endothelium and its supporting smooth muscle. Significant strides have been made in the understanding of the cellular and molecular biology of these two cell types and in particular their interactions have been the subject of much interest and debate over the past two decades. The vascular endothelium is now known to profoundly influence the synthetic and motor functions of the underlying smooth muscle and participate in the pathogenesis of all the major vascular disorders. Similarly, the vascular smooth muscle has important effects on the overlying endothelium, and any disruption in the cellular physiology of either cell type can result in dysfunction with important effects on blood flow and vascular permeability The majority of this accumulated knowledge relates to the vascular cells of the macrocirculation. Pericytes are the supporting cells of the microvasculature and a body of evidence is now available to show that similar regulatory mechanisms and vessel-wall cross-talk exists between these cells and the microvascular endothelium. Nowhere are these interactions more important than in the retinal microcirculation where autoregulation is vital for the maintenance of smooth and uninterrrupted blood flow. This review focuses on the interactions between retinal microvascular endothelial cells and their associated pericytes and examines the role of the endothelial cell and the pericyte in the pathogenesis of disease.
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||Progress in Retinal and Eye Research|
|Publication status||Published - 01 Jul 1999|
Bibliographical noteLR: 20100825; GR: Wellcome Trust/United Kingdom; JID: 9431859; 0 (Growth Substances); RF: 108; ppublish
- Endothelium, Vascular/physiology
- Growth Substances/physiology
- Retinal Vessels/physiology