Nuclear Receptor Research


The Myofibroblast: TGFβ-1, A Conductorwhich Plays a Key Role in Fibrosis by Regulating the Balance between PPARγ and the Canonical WNT Pathway

Author(s): Yves Lecarpentier, Olivier Schussler, Victor Claes, and Alexandre Vallée

Myofibroblasts are non-muscular contractile cells that occur physiologically in organs such as in stem villi of the human placenta during normal pregnancies. They have the ability to contract and relax in response to changes in the volume of the intervillous chamber. Myofibroblasts are also found in many pathological states, and are involved in wound healing and fibrosis processes in several organs such as liver, lung, kidney, and heart. During fibrosis, the contractile phenomenon is a relaxation-free mechanism, associated with the synthesis of collagen in the extracellular matrix (ECM), which leads to irreversible fibrosis, tissue retraction and finally apoptosis of the myofibroblasts. The molecular motor of myofibroblasts is the non-muscle myosin type II (NMII). Differentiation of fibroblasts into myofibroblast is largely regulated by the Transforming Growth Factor-β1 (TGF-β1). This system regulates the canonical WNT/β-catenin pathway in a positive manner and PPARγ in a negative manner. WNT/βcatenin promotes fibrosis while PPARγ prevents fibrosis. This review focuses on the contractile properties of myofibroblasts and on the TGF-β1 conductor which regulates the antagonism between PPARγ and the canonical WNT/β-catenin pathway