Excessive scar formation is a hallmark of localized and systemic fibrotic disorders. Despite extensive studies to define valid anti-fibrotic targets and develop effective therapeutics, progressive fibrosis remains a significant medical problem. Regardless of the injury type or location of wounded tissue, excessive production and accumulation of collagen-rich extracellular matrix is the common denominator of all fibrotic disorders. A long-standing dogma was that anti-fibrotic approaches should focus on overall intracellular processes that drive fibrotic scarring. Because of the poor outcomes of these approaches, scientific efforts now focus on regulating the extracellular components of fibrotic tissues. Crucial extracellular players include cellular receptors of matrix components, macromolecules that form the matrix architecture, auxiliary proteins that facilitate the formation of stiff scar tissue, matricellular proteins, and extracellular vesicles that modulate matrix homeostasis. This review summarizes studies targeting the extracellular aspects of fibrotic tissue synthesis, presents the rationale for these studies, and discusses the progress and limitations of current extracellular approaches to limit fibrotic healing.
Fertala, Jolanta; Wang, Mark L.; Rivlin, Michael; Beredjiklian, Pedro K.; Abboud, Joseph; Arnold, William V.; and Fertala, Andrzej, "Extracellular Targets to Reduce Excessive Scarring in Response to Tissue Injury" (2023). Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Faculty Papers. Paper 195.
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