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Review
, 76 (21), 4179-4201

Molecular Determinants of Mesenchymal Cell Activation in Fibroproliferative Diseases

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Review

Molecular Determinants of Mesenchymal Cell Activation in Fibroproliferative Diseases

Loka R Penke et al. Cell Mol Life Sci.

Abstract

Uncontrolled scarring, or fibrosis, can interfere with the normal function of virtually all tissues of the body, ultimately leading to organ failure and death. Fibrotic diseases represent a major cause of death in industrialized countries. Unfortunately, no curative treatments for these conditions are yet available, highlighting the critical need for a better fundamental understanding of molecular mechanisms that may be therapeutically tractable. The ultimate indispensable effector cells responsible for deposition of extracellular matrix proteins that comprise scars are mesenchymal cells, namely fibroblasts and myofibroblasts. In this review, we focus on the biology of these cells and the molecular mechanisms that regulate their pertinent functions. We discuss key pro-fibrotic mediators, signaling pathways, and transcription factors that dictate their activation and persistence. Because of their possible clinical and therapeutic relevance, we also consider potential brakes on mesenchymal cell activation and cellular processes that may facilitate myofibroblast clearance from fibrotic tissue-topics that have in general been understudied.

Keywords: Apoptosis; De-differentiation; Differentiation proliferation; Fibroblast; Fibroproliferative diseases; Myofibroblast; Signaling pathways.

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