Journal Article

The renal (myo-)fibroblast: a heterogeneous group of cells

Peter Boor and Jürgen Floege

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

Published on behalf of European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Assoc

Volume 27, issue 8, pages 3027-3036
Published in print August 2012 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online August 2012 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI:
The renal (myo-)fibroblast: a heterogeneous group of cells

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Renal fibrosis is a central pathological process in kidneys of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Identification of effective treatments that halt or reverse fibrosis would be beneficial for most, if not all, CKD patients. Key to this is an understanding of fibrogenesis, including the principal responsible cells, the renal fibroblasts. It is in part due to their inconspicuous appearance that it was believed that there might not be much more to a fibroblast than a simple interstitial mesenchymal cell which makes up the organ stroma. The so-called ‘renal fibroblasts’ are a heterogeneous population of mesenchymal cells with various essential functions during kidney development and in adult life. Still, remarkable uncertainties exist in the nomenclature of renal mesenchymal cells—or renal fibroblasts—and molecular characterization remains poor. The embryonic origin of fibroblasts is unclear as well, although some studies point to a neural crest origin of these cells. The renal myofibroblasts appear de novo in renal fibrosis, originating from renal fibroblasts. Myofibroblasts most likely represent a stressed and dedifferentiated phenotype of fibroblasts. We have only just begun to appreciate that renal fibroblasts are anything but simple renal interstitial cells.

Keywords: kidney development; origin of fibroblasts; renal fibrosis; renal stroma; markers

Journal Article.  6765 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Nephrology

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