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Microbes Infect. 1999 Dec;1(15):1349-65.

TGF-beta and fibrosis.

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Kidney Disease Section, Metabolic Diseases Branch, NIDDK, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-1268, USA.


Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) isoforms are multifunctional cytokines that play a central role in wound healing and in tissue repair. TGF-beta is found in all tissues, but is particularly abundant in bone, lung, kidney and placental tissue. TGF-beta is produced by many but not all parenchymal cell types, and is also produced or released by infiltrating cells such as lymphocytes, monocytes/macrophages, and platelets. Following wounding or inflammation, all these cells are potential sources of TGF-beta. In general, the release and activation of TGF-beta stimulates the production of various extracellular matrix proteins and inhibits the degradation of these matrix proteins, although exceptions to these principles abound. These actions of TGF-beta contribute to tissue repair, which under ideal circumstances leads to the restoration of normal tissue architecture and may involve a component of tissue fibrosis. In many diseases, excessive TGF-beta contributes to a pathologic excess of tissue fibrosis that compromises normal organ function, a topic that has been the subject of numerous reviews [1-3]. In the following chapter, we will discuss the role of TGF-beta in tissue fibrosis, with particular emphasis on renal fibrosis.

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