noun, plural: fibroblasts
Cell of connective tissue that produces and secretes fibers (e.g. collagens, reticular and elastic fibers) and glycosaminoglycans (a ground substance constituent), and thus, functions in the maintenance of the extracellular matrix (especially during wound healing or tissue repair), and in providing a structural framework for many tissues
Fibroblasts are a biological cell that produces and secretes fibers (e.g. collagens, reticular and elastic fibers) and certain ground substance constituents (e.g. glycosaminoglycans). Thus, they are responsible for the production of the precursors and the maintenance of the extracellular matrix. Their secretions also provide structural framework for many biological tissues of animals.
In animals, the connective tissue is one of the major types of tissues and its main functions are to provide structural support and to connect tissues and organs. The fibroblasts are just one of the various cellular elements of the connective tissues. Other connective tissue cell types are adipocytes and blood cells (such as macrophages, mast cells, etc.). Nevertheless, the fibroblasts are regarded as the most common connective tissue cell type.
The fibroblasts have different shapes. They can be stellate, fusiform, or spindle-shaped. In general, though, fibroblasts have branched cytoplasm and an elliptical nucleus with two or more nucleoli. Endoplasmic reticula are abundant in active fibroblasts. Metabolically inactive fibroblasts are referred to as fibrocytes.
Apart from maintaining the extracellular matrix, the fibroblasts are also involved in triggering inflammation and immune response. In the presence of invading microbes, they present receptors on their surface to initiate chemokine synthesis, which in turn, incites inflammation and immune response.
- fibroblastic (adjective, of, pertaining to, relating to, characterized by, or resembling a fibroblast)