PI Seminar Series
Speaker: Dr Lee Borthwick
Newcastle University Research Fellow
Venue: Dental Lecture Theatre C
Date: 7th March 2016
Dr Lee Borthwick will present:
‘Investigating the regulation of fibroblast phenotype during fibrosis’
Fibrosis causes excessive extra-cellular matrix deposition in an organ as part of an attempted reparative process following injury. It may represent an aberrant response to a single major injury or a response to persistent or repetitive injury. The association of fibrosis with many chronic inflammatory conditions suggests that beneficial reparative processes that restore tissue homeostasis in physiological healing continue unchecked and result in pathological damage and loss of organ function. Improving our understanding of the critical processes that fail to orchestrate physiological repair in an injured organ and instead cause pathological repair as fibrosis is critical to finding new therapeutic approaches.
Fibroblasts constitute ~30% of cells in normal tissue and >50% of cells in diseased tissue. The role of fibroblasts as the major fibrogenic cell is well characterized, however less is known about the potential of fibroblasts to contribute to innate immune and inflammatory responses. Recent work from our laboratory has shown that human lung fibroblasts adopt a highly pro-inflammatory phenotype in response to epithelial damage and that this phenotypic switch is controlled by IL-1α/IL-1R1. Conversely, the same fibroblasts are induced to adopt a highly fibrotic phenotype in response to treatment with the pro-fibrotic growth factor TGF-β1. My research aims to investigate the mechanisms regulating fibroblast phenotypes and determine whether modulating fibroblast phenotypes in vivo provides a potential novel therapeutic strategy for patients with chronic inflammatory and fibrotic disease.
Chair: Dr Ana Moles