Mechanical forces are essential to the development and progression of fibrosis, and are likely to be as important as soluble factors. These forces regulate the phenotype and proliferation of myofibroblasts and other cells in damaged tissues, the activation of growth factors, the structure and mechanics of the matrix, and, potentially, tissue patterning. Better understanding of the variety and magnitude of forces, the characteristics of those forces in biological tissues, and their impact on fibrosis in multiple tissues is needed and may lead to identification of important new therapeutic targets. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Fibrosis: Translation of basic research to human disease.
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