The instructive role of the vasculature in stem cell niches
An important hallmark of many adult stem cell niches is their proximity to the vasculature in vivo, a feature common to neural stem cells (NSCs), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from bone marrow, adipose, and other tissues, hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), and many tumor stem cells. This review summarizes key studies supporting the vasculature's instructive role in adult stem cell niches, and the putative underlying molecular mechanisms by which blood vessels in these niches exert control over progenitor cell fates. The importance of the perivascular niche for pathology, notably tumor metastasis and dormancy, is also highlighted. Finally, the implications of the perivascular regulation of stem and progenitor cells on biomaterial design and the impact on future research directions are discussed.