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What's in a name? On fibroblast phenotype and nomenclature 1.

Authors
  • Nagalingam, Raghu S1
  • Al-Hattab, Danah S1
  • Czubryt, Michael P1
  • 1 Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba and Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre, Winnipeg, MB R2H 2A6, Canada. , (Canada)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
Publisher
Canadian Science Publishing
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2019
Volume
97
Issue
6
Pages
493–497
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1139/cjpp-2018-0555
PMID: 30468625
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Fibroblasts have long been recognized as important stromal cells, playing key roles in synthesizing and maintaining the extracellular matrix, but historically were treated as a relatively uniform cell type. Studies in recent years have revealed a surprising level of heterogeneity of fibroblasts across tissues, and even within organs such as the skin and heart. This heterogeneity may have functional consequences, including during stress and disease. While the field has moved forward quickly to begin to address the scientific import of this heterogeneity, the descriptive language used for these cells has not kept pace, particularly when considering the phenotype changes that occur as fibroblasts convert to myofibroblasts in response to injury. We discuss here the nature and sources of the heterogeneity of fibroblasts, and review how our understanding of the complexity of the fibroblast to myofibroblast phenotype conversion has changed with increasing scrutiny. We propose that the time is opportune to reevaluate how we name and describe these cells, particularly as they transition to myofibroblasts through discrete stages. A standardized nomenclature is essential to address the confusion that currently exists in the literature as to the usage of terms like myofibroblast and the description of fibroblast phenotype changes in disease.

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