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Mural cells

Along with the endothelial cells that line blood vessels, mural cells play an essential role in the function of the circulatory system.  Mural cells include vessel-associated cell types such as pericytes and vascular smooth muscles.  Pericytes are associated with capillaries and provide important barrier function in the nervous system, where they comprise the blood brain barrier together with endothelial cells and astrocytes.  Vascular smooth muscle (VSMC) are found predominantly on larger caliber arteries where they provide strength and elasticity.  In the zebrafish, we are able to directly visualize both of these cell types with transgenes driving fluorescent proteins.