Why does understanding the biology of fibroblasts in immunity really matter?
Wong ZY., Nee E., Coles M., Buckley CD.
Fibroblasts are known for their ability to make and modify the extracellular matrix. However, there is more to them than meets the eye. It is now clear that they help define tissue microenvironments and support immune responses in organs. As technology advances, we have started to uncover the secrets of fibroblasts. In this Essay, we present fibroblasts as not only the builders and renovators of tissue environments but also the rheostat cells for immune circuits. Although they perform location-specific functions, they do not have badges of fixed identity. Instead, they display a spectrum of functional states and can swing between these states depending on the needs of the organ. As fibroblasts participate in a range of activities both in health and disease, finding the key factors that alter their development and functional states will be an important goal to restore homeostasis in maladapted tissues.