Formation and function of the myofibroblast during tissue repair

J Invest Dermatol. 2007 Mar;127(3):526-37. doi: 10.1038/sj.jid.5700613.


It is generally accepted that fibroblast-to-myofibroblast differentiation represents a key event during wound healing and tissue repair. The high contractile force generated by myofibroblasts is beneficial for physiological tissue remodeling but detrimental for tissue function when it becomes excessive such as in hypertrophic scars, in virtually all fibrotic diseases and during stroma reaction to tumors. Specific molecular features as well as factors that control myofibroblast differentiation are potential targets to counteract its development, function, and survival. Such targets include alpha-smooth muscle actin and more recently discovered markers of the myofibroblast cytoskeleton, membrane surface proteins, and the extracellular matrix. Moreover, intervening with myofibroblast stress perception and transmission offers novel strategies to reduce tissue contracture; stress release leads to the instant loss of contraction and promotes apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / cytology*
  • Fibroblasts / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Muscles / cytology*
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / metabolism
  • Wound Healing*


  • Actins