- Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive scarring disease characterized by extracellular matrix accumulation and altered mechanical properties of lung tissue. Recent studies support the hypothesis that these compositional and mechanical changes create a progressive feed-forward loop in which enhanced matrix deposition and tissue stiffening contribute to fibroblast and myofibroblast differentiation and activation, which further perpetuates matrix production and stiffening. The biomechanical properties of tissues are sensed and responded to by mechanotransduction pathways that facilitate sensing of changes in mechanical cues by tissue resident cells and convert the mechanical signals into downstream biochemical signals.
- A hallmark of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is excessive and disordered deposition of extracellular matrix. Although the lung extracellular matrix normally plays an essential role in development and maintenance of lung tissue through reciprocal interactions with resident cells, the disordered matrix in the diseased lung is increasingly recognized as an active and important contributor to IPF pathogenesis. This working group summary from a recently conducted National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute strategic planning workshop for IPF research highlights recent advances, challenges, and opportunities in the study of matrix biology in IPF.