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Cardiac amyloidosis very high mag movat.jpg
Micrograph of a heart showing fibrosis (yellow - left of image) and amyloid deposition (brown - right of image). Movat's stain.
Specialty Pathology, rheumatology
Complications Cirrhosis
Risk factors Repeated injuries, chronic inflammation. [1]

Fibrosis, also known as fibrotic scarring, is a pathological wound healing in which connective tissue replaces normal parenchymal tissue to the extent that it goes unchecked, leading to considerable tissue remodelling and the formation of permanent scar tissue. [1] [2]


Repeated injuries, chronic inflammation and repair are susceptible to fibrosis where an accidental excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix components, such as the collagen is produced by fibroblasts, leading to the formation of a permanent fibrotic scar. [1]

In response to injury, this is called scarring, and if fibrosis arises from a single cell line, this is called a fibroma. Physiologically, fibrosis acts to deposit connective tissue, which can interfere with or totally inhibit the normal architecture and function of the underlying organ or tissue. Fibrosis can be used to describe the pathological state of excess deposition of fibrous tissue, as well as the process of connective tissue deposition in healing. [3] Defined by the pathological accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, fibrosis results in scarring and thickening of the affected tissue, it is in essence an exaggerated wound healing response which interferes with normal organ function. [4]


Fibrosis is similar to the process of scarring, in that both involve stimulated fibroblasts laying down connective tissue, including collagen and glycosaminoglycans. The process is initiated when immune cells such as macrophages release soluble factors that stimulate fibroblasts. The most well characterized pro-fibrotic mediator is TGF beta, which is released by macrophages as well as any damaged tissue between surfaces called interstitium. Other soluble mediators of fibrosis include CTGF, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), and interleukin 10 (IL-10). These initiate signal transduction pathways such as the AKT/mTOR [5] and SMAD [6] pathways that ultimately lead to the proliferation and activation of fibroblasts, which deposit extracellular matrix into the surrounding connective tissue. This process of tissue repair is a complex one, with tight regulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis and degradation ensuring maintenance of normal tissue architecture. However, the entire process, although necessary, can lead to a progressive irreversible fibrotic response if tissue injury is severe or repetitive, or if the wound healing response itself becomes deregulated. [4]

Anatomical location

Fibrosis can occur in many tissues within the body, typically as a result of inflammation or damage, and examples include:

Micrograph showing cirrhosis of the liver. The tissue in this example is stained with a trichrome stain, in which fibrosis is colored blue. The red areas are the nodular liver tissue Cirrhosis high mag.jpg
Micrograph showing cirrhosis of the liver. The tissue in this example is stained with a trichrome stain, in which fibrosis is colored blue. The red areas are the nodular liver tissue



Bridging fibrosis in a Wistar rat following a six-week course of thioacetamide. Sirius Red stain Bridging fibrosis in rat liver exposed to thioacetamide.jpg
Bridging fibrosis in a Wistar rat following a six-week course of thioacetamide. Sirius Red stain




Myocardial fibrosis has mainly two forms:


Related Research Articles

Fibroblast Animal connective tissue cell that synthesizes the extracellular matrix, collagen, animal stroma and is involved in wound healing

A fibroblast is a type of biological cell that synthesizes the extracellular matrix and collagen, produces the structural framework (stroma) for animal tissues, and plays a critical role in wound healing. Fibroblasts are the most common cells of connective tissue in animals.

Scar Area of fibrous tissue that replaces normal skin after an injury

A scar is an area of fibrous tissue that replaces normal skin after an injury. Scars result from the biological process of wound repair in the skin, as well as in other organs and tissues of the body. Thus, scarring is a natural part of the healing process. With the exception of very minor lesions, every wound results in some degree of scarring. An exception to this are animals with complete regeneration, which regrow tissue without scar formation.

Tendon Type of tissue that connects muscle to bone

A tendon or sinew is a tough, high-tensile-strength band of dense fibrous connective tissue that connects muscle to bone. It is able to efficiently transmit the mechanical forces of muscle contraction to the skeletal system without sacrificing its ability to withstand significant amounts of tension.

Extracellular matrix Network of proteins and molecules outside cells that provides structural support for cells

In biology, the extracellular matrix (ECM) is a three-dimensional network consisting of extracellular macromolecules and minerals, such as collagen, enzymes, glycoproteins and hydroxyapatite that provide structural and biochemical support to surrounding cells. Because multicellularity evolved independently in different multicellular lineages, the composition of ECM varies between multicellular structures; however, cell adhesion, cell-to-cell communication and differentiation are common functions of the ECM.

Wound healing

Wound healing refers to a living organism's replacement of destroyed or damaged tissue by newly produced tissue.

Haptotaxis is the directional motility or outgrowth of cells, e.g. in the case of axonal outgrowth, usually up a gradient of cellular adhesion sites or substrate-bound chemoattractants. These gradients are naturally present in the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the body during processes such as angiogenesis or artificially present in biomaterials where gradients are established by altering the concentration of adhesion sites on a polymer substrate.

CREST syndrome Medical condition

CREST syndrome, also known as the limited cutaneous form of systemic sclerosis (lcSSc), is a multisystem connective tissue disorder. The acronym "CREST" refers to the five main features: calcinosis, Raynaud's phenomenon, esophageal dysmotility, sclerodactyly, and telangiectasia.


A myofibroblast is a cell phenotype that was first described as being in a state between a fibroblast and a smooth muscle cell.


CTGF, also known as CCN2 or connective tissue growth factor, is a matricellular protein of the CCN family of extracellular matrix-associated heparin-binding proteins. CTGF has important roles in many biological processes, including cell adhesion, migration, proliferation, angiogenesis, skeletal development, and tissue wound repair, and is critically involved in fibrotic disease and several forms of cancers.


Dermatopontin also known as tyrosine-rich acidic matrix protein (TRAMP) is a protein that in humans is encoded by the DPT gene. Dermatopontin is a 22-kDa protein of the noncollagenous extracellular matrix (ECM) estimated to comprise 12 mg/kg of wet dermis weight. To date, homologues have been identified in five different mammals and 12 different invertebrates with multiple functions. In vertebrates, the primary function of dermatopontin is a structural component of the ECM, cell adhesion, modulation of TGF-β activity and cellular quiescence). It also has pathological involvement in heart attacks and decreased expression in leiomyoma and fibrosis. In invertebrate, dermatopontin homologue plays a role in hemagglutination, cell-cell aggregation, and expression during parasite infection.


In medicine, desmoplasia is the growth of fibrous or connective tissue. It is also called desmoplastic reaction to emphasize that it is secondary to an insult. Desmoplasia may occur around a neoplasm, causing dense fibrosis around the tumor, or scar tissue (adhesions) within the abdomen after abdominal surgery.

Pancreatic stellate cells (PaSCs) are classified as myofibroblast-like cells that are located in exocrine regions of the pancreas. PaSCs are mediated by paracrine and autocrine stimuli and share similarities with the hepatic stellate cell. Pancreatic stellate cell activation and expression of matrix molecules constitute the complex process that induces pancreatic fibrosis. Synthesis, deposition, maturation and remodelling of the fibrous connective tissue can be protective, however when persistent it impedes regular pancreatic function.

Corneal keratocyte

Corneal keratocytes are specialized fibroblasts residing in the stroma. This corneal layer, representing about 85-90% of corneal thickness, is built up from highly regular collagenous lamellae and extracellular matrix components. Keratocytes play the major role in keeping it transparent, healing its wounds, and synthesizing its components. In the unperturbed cornea keratocytes stay dormant, coming into action after any kind of injury or inflammation. Some keratocytes underlying the site of injury, even a light one, undergo apoptosis immediately after the injury. Any glitch in the precisely orchestrated process of healing may cloud the cornea, while excessive keratocyte apoptosis may be a part of the pathological process in the degenerative corneal disorders such as keratoconus, and these considerations prompt the ongoing research into the function of these cells.

Myocardial scarring

Myocardial scarring is the accumulation of fibrosis tissue resulting after some form of trauma to the cardiac tissue. Fibrosis is the formation of excess tissue in replacement of necrotic or extensively damaged tissue. Fibrosis in the heart is often hard to detect because fibromas are often formed. Fibromas are scar tissue or small tumors, formed in one cell line. Because they are so small they can be hard to detect by methods such as magnetic resonance imaging. A cell line is a path of fibrosis that follow only a line of cells.

Mechanobiology is an emerging field of science at the interface of biology, engineering, and physics. It focuses on how physical forces and changes in the mechanical properties of cells and tissues contribute to development, cell differentiation, physiology, and disease. Mechanical forces are experienced and may be interpreted to give biological responses in cells. The movement of joints, compressive loads on the cartilage and bone during exercise, and shear pressure on the blood vessel during blood circulation are all examples of mechanical forces in human tissues. A major challenge in the field is understanding mechanotransduction—the molecular mechanisms by which cells sense and respond to mechanical signals. While medicine has typically looked for the genetic and biochemical basis of disease, advances in mechanobiology suggest that changes in cell mechanics, extracellular matrix structure, or mechanotransduction may contribute to the development of many diseases, including atherosclerosis, fibrosis, asthma, osteoporosis, heart failure, and cancer. There is also a strong mechanical basis for many generalized medical disabilities, such as lower back pain, foot and postural injury, deformity, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Cenderitide is a natriuretic peptide developed by the Mayo Clinic as a potential treatment for heart failure. Cenderitide is created by the fusion of the 15 amino acid C-terminus of dendroaspis natriuretic peptide (DNP) with the full C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) structure both peptide which are endogenous to humans. This peptide chimera is a dual activator of the natriuretic peptide receptors NPR-A and NPR-B and therefore exhibits the natriuretic and diuretic properties of DNP, as well as the antiproliferative and antifibrotic properties of CNP.

Dermal fibroblasts are cells within the dermis layer of skin which are responsible for generating connective tissue and allowing the skin to recover from injury. Using organelles, dermal fibroblasts generate and maintain the connective tissue which unites separate cell layers. Furthermore, these dermal fibroblasts produce the protein molecules including laminin and fibronectin which comprise the extracellular matrix. By creating the extracellular matrix between the dermis and epidermis, fibroblasts allow the epithelial cells of the epidermis to affix the matrix, thereby allowing the epidermal cells to effectively join together to form the top layer of the skin.

Oxymatrine Chemical compound

Oxymatrine is one of many quinolizidine alkaloid compounds extracted from the root of Sophora flavescens, a Chinese herb. It is very similar in structure to matrine, which has one less oxygen atom. Oxymatrine has a variety of effects in vitro and in animal models, including protection against apoptosis, tumor and fibrotic tissue development, and inflammation. Furthermore, oxymatrine has been shown to decrease cardiac ischemia, myocardial injury, arrhythmias, and improve heart failure by increasing cardiac function.

Diabetic foot ulcer Medical condition

Diabetic foot ulcer is a major complication of diabetes mellitus, and probably the major component of the diabetic foot.

Scar free healing is the process by which significant injuries can heal without permanent damage to the tissue the injury has affected. In most healing, scars form due to the fibrosis and wound contraction, however in scar free healing tissue is completely regenerated. Scar improvement, and scar-free healing are an important and relevant area of medicine. During the 1990s, published research on the subject increased; it's a relatively recent term in the literature. Scar free healing is something which takes place in foetal life but the capacity is lost during progression to adulthood. In amphibians, tissue regeneration occurs, for example, as in skin regeneration in the adult axolotl.


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