Fibrocytes: emerging effector cells in chronic inflammation

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Fibrocytes are unique cells possessing the proinflammatory properties of macrophages and the tissue remodeling properties of fibroblasts. Because these cells display a strong association with many human diseases characterized by chronic and dysregulated inflammatory responses the study of fibrocytes is important and timely. This review presents recent data regarding fibrocyte origin, identification, differentiation, and appearance in diseased tissue. The available data regarding the association of fibrocytes with several forms of chronic tissue inflammation seen in the setting of lung disease, autoimmunity, liver disease, and normal aging will be presented. This review concludes by putting these data in perspective and by suggesting future areas of investigation. It is hoped that this information will lead to additional investigations in this burgeoning field and improve our understanding of the novel role fibrocytes may play in human disease.

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