Macrophage-stroma interactions in fibrosis: Biochemical, biophysical, and cellular perspectives

Gwenda F Vasse, Mehmet Nizamoglu, Irene H Heijink, Marco Schlepütz, Patrick van Rijn, Matthew J Thomas, Janette K Burgess*, Barbro N Melgert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
173 Downloads (Pure)


Fibrosis results from aberrant wound healing and is characterized by an accumulation of extracellular matrix, impairing the function of an affected organ. Increased deposition of extracellular matrix proteins, disruption of matrix degradation, but also abnormal post-translational modifications alter the biochemical composition and biophysical properties of the tissue microenvironment - the stroma. Macrophages are known to play an important role in wound healing and tissue repair, but the direct influence of fibrotic stroma on macrophage behaviour is still an under-investigated element in the pathogenesis of fibrosis. In this review, the current knowledge on interactions between macrophages and (fibrotic) stroma will be discussed from biochemical, biophysical, and cellular perspectives. Furthermore, we provide future perspectives with regards to how macrophage-stroma interactions can be examined further to ultimately facilitate more specific targeting of these interactions in the treatment of fibrosis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-357
Number of pages14
JournalThe Journal of Pathology
Issue number4
Early online date28-Jan-2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2021


  • polarization
  • migration
  • phagocytosis
  • extracellular matrix
  • stiffness
  • stretch
  • shear stress
  • microstructure
  • profibrotic
  • antifibrotic

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