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.
© 2016 by the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.