Research ArticleFibrosis

Targeting the vascular and perivascular niches as a regenerative therapy for lung and liver fibrosis

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Science Translational Medicine  30 Aug 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 405, eaai8710
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aai8710

To fix fibrosis, nix the niche

Organs such as the liver can mount a regenerative response to acute injury, but during chronic injury, this innate repair capacity is overwhelmed, leading to scarring and dysfunction. Cao et al. investigated whether targeting the microenvironment could improve therapeutic cell engraftment to reinstate regeneration in fibrotic organs. Treating mice with a dual therapy—an inhibitor of an enzyme up-regulated in fibrotic fibroblasts and viral particles that promoted endothelial-specific secretion of a growth factor—improved hepatocyte engraftment in fibrotic livers and epithelial cell engraftment in fibrotic lungs. Targeting both the vascular and perivascular regions could be key for restoring regeneration to fibrotic organs.