Epithelial-mesenchymal transition: An emerging target in tissue fibrosis

Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2016 Jan;241(1):1-13. doi: 10.1177/1535370215597194. Epub 2015 Sep 11.


Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is involved in a variety of tissue fibroses. Fibroblasts/myofibroblasts derived from epithelial cells contribute to the excessive accumulation of fibrous connective tissue in damaged tissue, which can lead to permanent scarring or organ malfunction. Therefore, EMT-related fibrosis cannot be neglected. This review highlights the findings that demonstrate the EMT to be a direct contributor to the fibroblast/myofibroblast population in the development of tissue fibrosis and helps to elucidate EMT-related anti-fibrotic strategies, which may enable the development of therapeutic interventions to suppress EMT and potentially reverse organ fibrosis.

Keywords: Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; TGF-β; anti-fibrosis; dedifferentiation; fibroblast; mesenchymal stem cell; myofibroblast; tissue fibrosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition*
  • Fibrosis / pathology*
  • Fibrosis / therapy*
  • Humans