Cardiac fibrosis in regenerative medicine: destroy to rebuild
The major limitations for cardiac regeneration in patients after myocardial infarction (MI) are the wide loss of cardiomyocytes and the adverse structural alterations of extracellular matrix (ECM). Cardiac fibroblast differentiation into myofibroblasts (MFB) leads to a huge deposition of ECM and to the subsequent loss of ventricular structural integrity. All these molecular events depict the fundamental features at the basis of the post-MI fibrosis and deserve in depth cellular and molecular studies to fill the gap in the clinical practice. Indeed, to date, there are no effective therapeutic approaches to limit the post-MI massive fibrosis development. In this review we describe the involvement of integrins and a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS)/ADAMTS-like (ADAMTSL) proteins in cardiac reparative pro-fibrotic response after MI, proposing some of them as novel potential pharmacological tools.