The Role of Fibroblasts in Tissue Engineering and Regeneration

T. Wong; J.A. McGrath; H. Navsaria


The British Journal of Dermatology. 2007;156(6):1149-1155. 

In This Article

Summary and Introduction

Fibroblasts are mesenchymal cells that can be readily cultured in the laboratory and play a significant role in epithelial-mesenchymal interactions, secreting various growth factors and cytokines that have a direct effect on epidermal proliferation, differentiation and formation of extracellular matrix. They have been incorporated into various tissue-engineered products such as Dermagraft® (Advanced BioHealing, La Jolla, CA, U.S.A.) and Apligraf® (Novartis, Basel, Switzerland) and used for a variety of clinical applications, including the treatment of burns, chronic venous ulcers and several other clinical applications in dermatology and plastic surgery. In this article we review the cell biology of dermal fibroblasts and discuss past and current experience of the clinical use of cultured fibroblasts.

Fibroblasts are a heterogeneous population of cells found in numerous tissues and are of mesenchymal origin. Fibroblasts from different anatomical sites all have similar morphology but DNA-microarray studies have demonstrated that fibroblasts in different anatomical sites have their own gene-expression profile and characteristic phenotypes, synthesizing extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins and cytokines in a site-specific manner.[1] Dermal fibroblasts have numerous functions, not only in synthesizing and depositing ECM components, but also proliferation and migration in response to chemotactic, mitogenic and modulatory cytokines, and also autocrine and paracrine interactions.[2]


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