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Fibrogenesis. IV. Fibrosis and inflammatory bowel disease: cellular mediators and animal models.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology and Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7545, USA.


The cellular mediators of intestinal fibrosis and the relationship between fibrosis and normal repair are not understood. Identification of the types of intestinal mesenchymal cells that produce collagen during normal healing and fibrosis is vital for elucidating the answers to these questions. Acute injury may cause normal mesenchymal cells to convert to a fibrogenic phenotype that is not maintained during normal healing but may lead to fibrosis when inappropriately sustained. Proliferation of normal or fibrogenic mesenchymal cells may lead to muscularis overgrowth associated with fibrosis. The presence of increased numbers of vimentin-positive cells within fibrotic, hypertrophied muscularis in Crohn's disease suggests that changes in mesenchymal cell phenotype and number may indeed be associated with fibrosis. Fibrosis is induced in rats by peptidoglycan polysaccharides or trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid-ethanol administration, but inducing fibrosis in mice has been technically challenging. The development of current mouse models of colitis, such as dextran sodium sulfate or trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid-ethanol administration, into models of fibrosis will allow us to use genetic manipulation to study molecular mediators of fibrosis.

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