Several recent studies have demonstrated that endothelial to mesenchymal transition (EndoMT), a newly recognized type of cellular transdifferentiation may be an important source of myofibroblasts during the development of experimentally induced pulmonary, cardiac and kidney fibrosis. EndoMT is a complex biological process induced by members of the transforming growth factor (TGF-β) family of regulatory polypeptides in which endothelial cells adopt a mesenchymal or myofibroblastic phenotype acquiring motile and contractile properties and initiating expression of mesenchymal cell products such as α smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and type I collagen. Although these experimental studies provide compelling evidence for the participation of EndoMT in the development of experimentally-induced fibrotic processes the precise role of EndoMT in the pathogenesis of human fibrotic disorders requires confirmation and validation from studies of human clinical pathologic conditions. Such confirmation should lead to a change in the paradigm of the origin of profibrogenic myofibroblasts involved in human fibrotic diseases. Further understanding of the molecular mechanisms and the regulatory pathways involved in EndoMT may lead to the development of novel therapeutic approaches for the incurable and often devastating fibrotic disorders.
Piera-Velazquez, Sonsoles and Jimenez, Sergio A., "Molecular mechanisms of endothelial to mesenchymal cell transition (EndoMT) in experimentally induced fibrotic diseases." (2012). Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine Papers and Presentations. Paper 6.