Inflammation Research

, Volume 68, Issue 3, pp 241–245 | Cite as

Giulio Gabbiani and the discovery of myofibroblasts

  • Domenico RibattiEmail author
  • Roberto Tamma
History of Inflammation


Myofibroblasts, specialized fibroblasts expressing the protein alpha-smooth muscle actin, are instrumental in wound contraction during normal wound healing. Tissue shortening is then stabilized by the synthesis of extracellular matrix, collagen in particular. Alpha-smooth muscle actin within myofibroblasts becomes organized in filamentous bundles, called stress fibers, that allow the retractile movement producing wound contraction. During hypertrophic scarring, skin deformations depend on the inappropriate action of these stress fibers that for unknown reasons persist even after the epithelialization of the wound. This historical review article is dedicated to the reconstruction of the discovery of this cell by the Italian scientist Giulio Gabbiani.


Inflammation History of medicine Myofibroblasts Wound healing 



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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neurosciences and Sensory OrgansUniversity of Bari Medical SchoolBariItaly

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