TGF-beta and fibrosis in different organs - molecular pathway imprints

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Aug;1792(8):746-56. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2009.06.004. Epub 2009 Jun 17.


The action of transforming-growth-factor (TGF)-beta following inflammatory responses is characterized by increased production of extracellular matrix (ECM) components, as well as mesenchymal cell proliferation, migration, and accumulation. Thus, TGF-beta is important for the induction of fibrosis often associated with chronic phases of inflammatory diseases. This common feature of TGF-related pathologies is observed in many different organs. Therefore, in addition to the description of the common TGF-beta-pathway, this review focuses on TGF-beta-related pathogenetic effects in different pathologies/organs, i. e., arthritis, diabetic nephropathy, colitis/Crohn's disease, radiation-induced fibrosis, and myocarditis (including their similarities and dissimilarities). However, TGF-beta exhibits both exacerbating and ameliorating features, depending on the phase of disease and the site of action. Due to its central role in severe fibrotic diseases, TGF-beta nevertheless remains an attractive therapeutic target, if targeted locally and during the fibrotic phase of disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / metabolism
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / pathology
  • Fibrosis* / metabolism
  • Fibrosis* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Intestines / immunology
  • Intestines / pathology
  • Myocarditis / metabolism
  • Myocarditis / pathology
  • Radiation, Ionizing
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*


  • Transforming Growth Factor beta