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Cadherin-11 and cardiac fibrosis: A common target for a common pathology


Riley LALance A , Merryman WDW David . Cellular signalling. 2020 12 5; 78(). 109876


Cardiac fibrosis represents an enormous health concern as it is prevalent in nearly every form of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. Fibrosis is characterized by the activation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts, a contractile cell type that secretes significant amounts of extracellular matrix components; however, the onset of this condition is also due to persistent inflammation and the cellular responses to a changing mechanical environment. In this review, we provide an overview of the pro-fibrotic, pro-inflammatory, and biomechanical mechanisms that lead to cardiac fibrosis in cardiovascular diseases. We then discuss cadherin-11, an intercellular adhesion protein present on both myofibroblasts and inflammatory cells, as a potential link for all three of the fibrotic mechanisms. Since experimentally blocking cadherin-11 dimerization prevents fibrotic diseases including cardiac fibrosis, understanding how this protein can be targeted for therapeutic use could lead to better treatments for patients with heart disease.