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Rodrigo Carlos de Oliveira, Steven E. Wilson; Fibrocytes, Wound Healing, and Corneal Fibrosis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(2):28. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.61.2.28.
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This review highlights the roles of fibrocytes—their origin, markers, regulation and functions—including contributions to corneal wound healing and fibrosis.
Peripheral blood fibroblast-like cells, called fibrocytes, are primarily generated as mature collagen-producing cells in the bone marrow. They are likely derived from the myeloid lineage, although the exact precursor remains unknown. Fibrocytes are identified by a combination of expressed markers, such as simultaneous expression of CD34 or CD45 or CD11b and collagen type I or collagen type III. Fibrocytes migrate into the wound from the blood where they participate in pathogen clearance, tissue regeneration, wound closure and angiogenesis. Transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) and adiponectin induce expression of α-smooth muscle actin and extracellular matrix proteins through activation of Smad3 and adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase pathways, respectively. Fibrocytes are important contributors to the cornea wound healing response and there are several mechanisms through which fibrocytes contribute to fibrosis in the cornea and other organs, such as their differentiation into myofibroblasts, production of matrix metalloproteinase, secretion of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase, and release of TGF-β1. In some tissues, fibrocytes may also contribute to the basement membrane regeneration and to the resolution of fibrosis.
New methods that block fibrocyte generation, fibrocyte migration, and their differentiation into myofibroblasts, as well as their production of matrix metalloproteinases, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase, and TGF-β1, have therapeutic potential to reduce the accumulation of collagens, maintain tissue integrity and retard or prevent the development of fibrosis.
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