Adipose-Derived Tissue in the Treatment of Dermal Fibrosis: Antifibrotic Effects of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells

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Abstract

Treatment of hypertrophic scars and other fibrotic skin conditions with autologous fat injections shows promising clinical results; however, the underlying mechanisms of its antifibrotic action have not been comprehensively studied. Adipose-derived stem cells, or stromal cell–derived factors, inherent components of the transplanted fat tissue, seem to be responsible for its therapeutic effects on difficult scars. The mechanisms by which this therapeutic effect takes place are diverse and are mostly mediated by paracrine signaling, which switches on various antifibrotic molecular pathways, modulates the activity of the central profibrotic transforming growth factor β/Smad pathway, and normalizes functioning of fibroblasts and keratinocytes in the recipient site. Direct cell-to-cell communications and differentiation of cell types may also play a positive role in scar treatment, even though they have not been extensively studied in this context. A more thorough understanding of the fat tissue antifibrotic mechanisms of action will turn this treatment from an anecdotal remedy to a more controlled, timely administered technology.

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