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European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Luis Antonio Bautista-Hernández, José Luis Gómez-Olivares, Beatriz Buentello-Volante, and Victor Manuel Bautista-de Lucio

Fibroblasts are present in all tissues but predominantly in connective tissues. Some of their functions include contractility, locomotion, collagen and elastin fiber production, and the regulation and degradation of the extracellular matrix. Also, fibroblasts act as sentinels to produce inflammatory mediators in response to several microorganisms. There is evidence that fibroblasts can synthesize toll-like receptors (TLRs), antimicrobial peptides, proinflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors, which are important molecules involved in innate immune response against microorganisms. Fibroblasts can express TLRs (TLR-1 to TLR-10) to sense microbial components or microorganisms. They can synthesize antimicrobial peptides, such as LL-37, defensins hBD-1, and hBD-2, molecules that perform antimicrobial activity. Also, they can produce proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNFα, INFγ, IL-6, IL-12p70, and IL-10; other chemokines, such as CCL1, CCL2, CCL5, CXCL1, CXCL8, CXCL10, and CX3CL1; and the growth factors granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) to induce and recruit inflammatory cells. According to their immunological attributes, we can conclude that fibroblasts are sentinel cells that recognize pathogens, induce the recruitment of inflammatory cells via cytokines and growth factors, and release antimicrobial peptides, complying with the characteristics of real sentinels.

Open access