The cardiac fibroblast: Origin, identity and role in homeostasis and disease.

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Differentiation 2016 Sep; 92(3):93-101.




The mammalian heart is responsible for supplying blood to two separate circulation circuits in a parallel manner. This design provides efficient oxygenation and nutrients to the whole body through the left-sided pump, while the right-sided pump delivers blood to the pulmonary circulation for re-oxygenation. In order to achieve this demanding job, the mammalian heart evolved into a highly specialised organ comprised of working contractile cells or cardiomyocytes, a directional and insulated conduction system, capable of independently generating and conducting electric impulses that synchronises chamber contraction, valves that allow the generation of high pressure and directional blood flow into the circulation, coronary circulation, that supplies oxygenated blood for the heart muscle high metabolically active pumping role and inlet/outlet routes, as the venae cavae and pulmonary veins, aorta and pulmonary trunk. This organization highlights the complexity and compartmentalization of the heart. This review will focus on the cardiac fibroblast, a cell type until recently ignored, but that profoundly influences heart function in its various compartments. We will discuss current advances on definitions, molecular markers and function of cardiac fibroblasts in heart homeostasis and disease. Differentiation 2016 Sep; 92(3):93-101.