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Mural cells have contractile function. As the progenitors of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and pericytes, mural cells themselves derive from the mesenchyme. Invasive endothelial become surrounded by locally-derived mesenchymal cells, meaning the surrounding primordium itself contributes the mural cells to the developing vessels. This is advantageous as it can result in tissue-specific functional and regulatory properties of pericytes, and SMCs. In contrast, endothelial cells are thought to be of uniform origin.