Stromal and immune cells in gut fibrosis: the myofibroblast and the scarface

Authors Vassilis Valatas, Eirini Filidou, Ioannis Drygiannakis, George Kolios.


Post-inflammatory scarring is the end-result of excessive extracellular matrix (ECM) accumulation and tissue architectural destruction. It represents a failure to effectively remodel ECM and achieve proper reinstitution and healing during chronic relapsing inflammatory processes. Scarring may affect the functionality of any organ, and in the case of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)-associated fibrosis leads to stricture formation and often surgery to remove the affected bowel. The activated myofibroblast is the final effector cell that overproduces ECM under the influence of various mediators generated by an intense interplay of classic and non-classic immune cells. This review focuses on how proinflammatory mediators from various sources produced in different stages of intestinal inflammation can form profibrotic pathways that eventually lead to tissue scarring through sustained activation of myofibroblasts.

Keywords Intestinal fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease, myofibroblast, extracellular matrix, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis

Ann Gastroenterol 2017; 30 (4): 393-404

Review Articles