Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-B-deficient mouse embryos were found to lack microvascular pericytes, which normally form part of the capillary wall, and they developed numerous capillary microaneurysms that ruptured at late gestation. Endothelial cells of the sprouting capillaries in the mutant mice appeared to be unable to attract PDGF-Rbeta-positive pericyte progenitor cells. Pericytes may contribute to the mechanical stability of the capillary wall. Comparisons made between PDGF null mouse phenotypes suggest a general role for PDGFs in the development of myofibroblasts.
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