The role of connective tissue growth factor, a multifunctional matricellular protein, in fibroblast biology

Biochem Cell Biol. 2003 Dec;81(6):355-63. doi: 10.1139/o03-069.


Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF, CCN2), a member of the CCN family of proteins, is a cysteine-rich proadhesive matricellular protein that plays an essential role in the formation of blood vessels, bone, and connective tissue. As expression of this protein is potently induced by transforming growth factor-beta (TGFbeta), it has been hypothesized that CTGF mediates several of the downstream actions of TGFbeta. In particular, CTGF is profibrotic, as CTGF is overexpressed in fibrotic disease and synergizes with TGFbeta to promote sustained fibrosis in vivo. Over the last several years, key data regarding the developmental role and structure and function relationship of CTGF have emerged. In addition, increased information concerning the mechanisms underlying the control of CTGF expression in normal and fibrotic cells and the signal transduction pathways through which CTGF acts on cells has been uncovered. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge regarding CTGF biology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Connective Tissue Growth Factor
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism*
  • Fibrosis / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immediate-Early Proteins / metabolism*
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*
  • Wound Healing / physiology


  • CCN2 protein, human
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Connective Tissue Growth Factor