Current Rheumatology Reports

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 136-143

First online:

New developments in fibroblast and myofibroblast biology: Implications for fibrosis and scleroderma

  • David J. AbrahamAffiliated withCentre for Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Royal Free and University College Medical School, University College London (Hampstead Campus) Email author 
  • , Beate Eckes
  • , Vineeth Rajkumar
  • , Thomas Krieg

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The concept of mesenchymal fibroblasts has evolved over the past two decades from a relatively inert structural cell type to a dynamic, pluripotent cell lineage controlling normal connective tissue formation, homeostasis, and repair and as principle players in pathogenic scarring and fibrosis. In wound healing and tissue repair, fibroblasts provide proinflammatory signals and synthesize interstitial collagens, fibronectins, and other matrix components to repair the damaged tissue. Fibroblasts can differentiate into the myofibroblast, a specialized contractile cell type responsible for wound closure, tissue contraction, and scarring. This article reviews our current understanding of the origins of mesenchymal cells and their role in excessive scarring and fibrogenesis and in the systemic fibrotic disease scleroderma.