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To protect against danger, the innate immune system must promptly and accurately sense alarm signals, and mount an appropriate response to restore homeostasis. One endogenous trigger of immunity is tenascin-C, a large hexameric protein of the extracellular matrix. Upregulated upon tissue injury and cellular stress, tenascin-C is expressed during inflammation and tissue remodeling, where it influences cellular behavior by interacting with a multitude of molecular targets, including other matrix components, cell surface proteins, and growth factors. Here, we discuss how these interactions confer upon tenascin-C distinct immunomodulatory capabilities that make this matrix molecule necessary for efficient tissue repair. We also highlight in vivo studies that provide insight into the consequences of misregulated tenascin-C expression on inflammation and fibrosis during a wide range of inflammatory diseases. Finally, we examine how its unique expression pattern and inflammatory actions make tenascin-C a viable target for clinical exploitation in both diagnostic and therapeutic arenas.

Original publication




Journal article


J histochem cytochem

Publication Date





289 - 304


extracellular matrix, fibroblast, fibrosis, inflammation, inflammatory disease, innate immunity, integrin, macrophage, toll-like receptor 4