Fibrocytes: emerging effector cells in chronic inflammation

Nat Rev Immunol. 2011 Jun;11(6):427-35. doi: 10.1038/nri2990. Epub 2011 May 20.


Fibrocytes are mesenchymal cells that arise from monocyte precursors. They are present in injured organs and have both the inflammatory features of macrophages and the tissue remodelling properties of fibroblasts. Chronic inflammatory stimuli mediate the differentiation, trafficking and accumulation of these cells in fibrosing conditions associated with autoimmunity, cardiovascular disease and asthma. This Opinion article discusses the immunological mediators controlling fibrocyte differentiation and recruitment, describes the association of fibrocytes with chronic inflammatory diseases and compares the potential roles of fibrocytes in these disorders with those of macrophages and fibroblasts. It is hoped that this information prompts new opportunities for the study of these unique cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cicatrix / immunology
  • Cicatrix / metabolism
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / immunology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation Mediators / immunology*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / immunology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Models, Immunological
  • Wound Healing / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators