Fibrosis is a pathological wound healing in which connective tissue replaces normal parenchymal tissue to the point of uncontrolled scarring, leading to considerable tissue remodeling and permanent scar formation.
Fibrosis can occur in various organs: skin, lungs, muscles, generating the loss of functionality of the affected organs. Studies developed by our association confirmed, for example, that patients with spinal cord injury generate such a level of muscle fibrosis that they cannot move or control muscle movements.
Cell Therapy and Fibrosis
Dr. Gustavo A. Moviglia presents in two videos how fibrosis is generated, through a clarifying example at the skin level, and how cell therapy can help correct this malady. In the first installment “What is fibrosis?” he discusses how fibrosis results in scarring and thickening of the affected tissue; which is, in essence, an exaggerated wound healing response that interferes with normal organ function. According to his description, it is the organism “big stitching” with the wrong tissue to effectively, but perhaps not very efficiently, close a wound.
“All organs are self-renewing. In repair processes, the same renewal mechanisms are used, but in an accelerated manner.”Gustavo A. Moviglia
Of note in this first video is the role of stem cells, which have regenerative capacity and can help produce new tissues. Equally important is the role of lymphocytes, tissue-specific cells, which take over the conduct of cellular tissue repair. Both types of cells (lymphocytes and stem cells) interact to generate the repair: the specific lymphocyte stimulates the stem cells to start differentiating into a specific new tissue to produce the repair.
Similarly, when the wound is very large and exceeds the self-healing capacity of the organism, TH2 lymphocytes proceed to rapidly close the wound to avoid infection, dehydration and other risks. This is when fibrosis appears in the organ.
Cell therapy as a treatment for fibrosis
In the second video, Dr. Gustavo A. Moviglia reviews some of the work done on cell therapy for the treatment of fibrosis, specifically at the muscular level.
As part of the research conducted with patients with spinal cord injury, it was possible to verify that they had recovered the invervation of the muscles; that is, they received the electrical impulse from the brain to move, but were unable to articulate the command. The muscles simply did not respond to the electrical command. The reason was a high level of fibrotic tissue, a consequence of years of inactivity, which resulted in a rather acute muscular dystrophy.
He then went on to implant cells to activate the repair of damaged muscle tissue, as explained in this video, accompanied by an ambitious kinesiology plan.
With pre-differentiated cells in the laboratory and combined with TH1 lymphocytes, muscle tissue could be regenerated and fibrotic tissue decreased, which was key for patients to progress in the recovery of their motor functions.