Friday, September 30, 2011

Connective Tissue: Body-Wide Signaling Network?

Once again, i have caught the reading bug and have come across another intelligent article on the growing interest and study of connective tissue and it's implications in the human organism. I have found that the more you ask and the more you dig, you not only find answers but you uncover more questions! This particular article asks a very important and fundamental question: is connective tissue an immense signalling network? It was written 6 years ago and the more current research has shown this to be highly likely (if not true). It also makes another important point: the musculoskeletal system has been studied in relative isolation from the rest of the body...implying that connective tissue has no other function other than something mechanically based.

I am aware that not everyone has the time or energy to plow through scientific is an unlikely source of relaxation for me which most people do not share. Therefore, I have decided to insert the summary into my post because it very accurately captures the essense of the article. For those who are more the link and read on!

SUMMARY: Unspecialized ‘‘loose’’ connective tissue forms an anatomical network throughout the body. This paper
presents the hypothesis that, in addition, connective tissue functions as a body-wide mechanosensitive signaling
network. Three categories of signals are discussed: electrical, cellular and tissue remodeling, each potentially
responsive to mechanical forces over different time scales. It is proposed that these types of signals generate dynamic,
evolving patterns that interact with one another. Such connective tissue signaling would be affected by changes in
movement and posture, and may be altered in pathological conditions (e.g. local decreased mobility due to injury or
pain). Connective tissue thus may function as a previously unrecognized whole body communication system. Since
connective tissue is intimately associated with all other tissues (e.g. lung, intestine), connective tissue signaling may
coherently influence (and be influenced by) the normal or pathological function of a wide variety of organ systems.
Demonstrating the existence of a connective signaling network therefore may profoundly influence our understanding
of health and disease.

c 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Connective Tissue: BodyWide Signaling Network

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