The Basics of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition

J Clin Invest. 2009 Jun;119(6):1420-8. doi: 10.1172/JCI39104.

Abstract

The origins of the mesenchymal cells participating in tissue repair and pathological processes, notably tissue fibrosis, tumor invasiveness, and metastasis, are poorly understood. However, emerging evidence suggests that epithelial-mesenchymal transitions (EMTs) represent one important source of these cells. As we discuss here, processes similar to the EMTs associated with embryo implantation, embryogenesis, and organ development are appropriated and subverted by chronically inflamed tissues and neoplasias. The identification of the signaling pathways that lead to activation of EMT programs during these disease processes is providing new insights into the plasticity of cellular phenotypes and possible therapeutic interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Epithelial Cells / classification
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology*
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / classification
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Regeneration