Lab model of scar tissue formation
Scarring is an essential and sometimes life-saving process. Triggered by signs of injury, cells called fibroblasts rapidly multiply to form a fibrous mesh that binds and protects the damaged tissue. In normal healing, this initial scar is later remodelled to restore flexibility and function to the tissue. But, in some instances, especially inside the body, fibroblasts can go into overdrive causing progressive, pathological scarring (fibrosis), which acts like a straitjacket rather than a band-aid hindering organ function. Researchers have now developed a model of fibrosis (pictured) that grows in a dish. Formed from stem cells that have developed into fibroblasts and other cell types, the scar persistently grows as the cells (red and green) multiply. Having a readily accessible model of fibrosis will allow researchers to both study the process and screen for drugs that might bring it to a halt.
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