Plasma and cellular fibronectin: distinct and independent functions during tissue repair.
To WS., Midwood KS.
Fibronectin (FN) is a ubiquitous extracellular matrix (ECM) glycoprotein that plays vital roles during tissue repair. The plasma form of FN circulates in the blood, and upon tissue injury, is incorporated into fibrin clots to exert effects on platelet function and to mediate hemostasis. Cellular FN is then synthesized and assembled by cells as they migrate into the clot to reconstitute damaged tissue. The assembly of FN into a complex three-dimensional matrix during physiological repair plays a key role not only as a structural scaffold, but also as a regulator of cell function during this stage of tissue repair. FN fibrillogenesis is a complex, stepwise process that is strictly regulated by a multitude of factors. During fibrosis, there is excessive deposition of ECM, of which FN is one of the major components. Aberrant FN-matrix assembly is a major contributing factor to the switch from normal tissue repair to misregulated fibrosis. Understanding the mechanisms involved in FN assembly and how these interplay with cellular, fibrotic and immune responses may reveal targets for the future development of therapies to regulate aberrant tissue-repair processes.