Document Type


Publication Date



This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease

Volume 1832, Issue 7, July 2013, Pages 1088-1103.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2012.12.007. Copyright © Elsevier


The fibrotic diseases encompass a wide spectrum of entities including such multisystemic diseases as systemic sclerosis, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis and sclerodermatous graft versus host disease, as well as organ-specific disorders such as pulmonary, liver, and kidney fibrosis. Collectively, given the wide variety of affected organs, the chronic nature of the fibrotic processes, and the large number of individuals suffering their devastating effects, these diseases pose one of the most serious health problems in current medicine and a serious economic burden to society. Despite these considerations there is currently no accepted effective treatment. However, remarkable progress has been achieved in the elucidation of their pathogenesis including the identification of the critical role of myofibroblasts and the determination of molecular mechanisms that result in the transcriptional activation of the genes responsible for the fibrotic process. Here we review the origin of the myofibroblast and discuss the crucial regulatory pathways involving multiple growth factors and cytokines that participate in the pathogenesis of the fibrotic process. Potentially effective therapeutic strategies based upon this new information are considered in detail and the major challenges that remain and their possible solutions are presented. It is expected that translational efforts devoted to convert this new knowledge into novel and effective anti-fibrotic drugs will be forthcoming in the near future. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Fibrosis: Translation of basic research to human disease.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

PubMed ID


Included in

Dermatology Commons