The role of the neurovascular niche in CNS myelin regeneration is incompletely understood. Here, we show that, upon demyelination, CNS-resident pericytes (PCs) proliferate, and parenchymal non-vessel-associated PC-like cells (PLCs) rapidly develop. During remyelination, mature oligodendrocytes were found in close proximity to PCs. In Pdgfbret/ret mice, which have reduced PC numbers, oligodendrocyte progenitor cell (OPC) differentiation was delayed, although remyelination proceeded to completion. PC-conditioned medium accelerated and enhanced OPC differentiation in vitro and increased the rate of remyelination in an ex vivo cerebellar slice model of demyelination. We identified Lama2 as a PC-derived factor that promotes OPC differentiation. Thus, the functional role of PCs is not restricted to vascular homeostasis but includes the modulation of adult CNS progenitor cells involved in regeneration.
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