Mechano-therapeutics: Targeting Mechanical Signaling in Fibrosis and Tumor Stroma

Daniel J. Tschumperlin, David Lagares

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Pathological remodeling of the extracellular matrix (ECM) by activated myofibroblasts is a hallmark of fibrotic diseases and desmoplastic tumors. Activation of myofibroblasts occurs in response to fibrogenic tissue injury as well as in tumor-associated fibrotic reactions. The molecular determinants of myofibroblast activation in fibrosis and tumor stroma have traditionally been viewed to include biochemical agents, such as dysregulated growth factor and cytokine signaling, which profoundly alter the biology of fibroblasts, ultimately leading to overexuberant matrix deposition and fibrosis. More recently, compelling evidence has shown that altered mechanical properties of the ECM such as matrix stiffness are major drivers of tissue fibrogenesis by promoting mechano-activation of fibroblasts. In this Review, we discuss new insights into the role of the biophysical microenvironment in the amplified activation of fibrogenic myofibroblasts during the development and progression of fibrotic diseases and desmoplastic tumors. We also summarize novel therapeutic targets for anti-fibrotic therapy based on the mechanobiology of tissue fibrosis and tumor stroma, a class of drugs known as “mechano-therapeutics”.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107575
JournalPharmacology and Therapeutics
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • CAFs
  • Fibrosis
  • Mechano-therapeutics
  • Mechanobiology
  • Myofibroblasts
  • Tumor Stroma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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