Long-term peritoneal dialysis (PD) can lead to fibrotic changes in the peritoneum, characterized by loss of mesothelial cells (MCs) and thickening of the submesothelial area with an accumulation of collagen and myofibroblasts. The origin of myofibroblasts is a central question in peritoneal fibrosis that remains unanswered at present. Numerous clinical and experimental studies have suggested that MCs, through epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), contribute to the pool of peritoneal myofibroblasts. However, recent work has placed significant doubts on the paradigm of EMT in organ fibrogenesis (in the kidney particularly), highlighting the need to reconsider the role of EMT in the generation of myofibroblasts in peritoneal fibrosis. In particular, selective cell isolation and lineage-tracing experiments have suggested the existence of progenitor cells in the peritoneum, which are able to switch to fibroblast-like cells when stimulated by the local environment. These findings highlight the plastic nature of MCs and its contribution to peritoneal fibrogenesis. In this review, we summarize the key findings and caveats of EMT in organ fibrogenesis, with a focus on PD-related peritoneal fibrosis, and discuss the potential of peritoneal MCs as a source of myofibroblasts.
- Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
- Mesothelial cell
- Peritoneal dialysis
- Progenitor cell
ASJC Scopus subject areas