Isolation and Purification of Murine Cardiac Pericytes

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


Pericytes, perivascular cells of microvessels and capillaries, are known to play a part in angiogenesis, vessel stabilization, and endothelial barrier integrity. However, their tissue-specific functions in the heart are not well understood. Moreover, there is currently no protocol utilizing readily accessible materials to isolate and purify pericytes of cardiac origin. Our protocol focuses on using the widely used mammalian model, the mouse, as our source of cells. Using the enzymatic digestion and mechanical dissociation of heart tissue, we obtained a crude cell mixture that was further purified by fluorescence activating cell sorting (FACS) by a plethora of markers. Because there is no single unequivocal marker for pericytes, we gated for cells that were CD31-CD34-CD45-CD140b+NG2+CD146+. Following purification, these primary cells were cultured and passaged multiple times without any changes in morphology and marker expression. With the ability to regularly obtain primary murine cardiac pericytes using our protocol, we hope to further understand the role of pericytes in cardiovascular physiology and their therapeutic potential.