Monday, February 27, 2012

The Fibroblast

Another brief rant on the fundamentals of understanding the role of fascia and connective tissue. Although there are many specific topics to uncover, there isnt a better place to start than getting familiar with the Fibroblast.

A fibroblast is a cell that essentially produces and maintains the Extracellular Matrix of the connective tissue...or to put it simply, the ¨caretakers¨ of the connective tissue. It does this by secreting precursors into the extracellular matrix which maintain the structural integrity of the entire system.

The most important characteristic to remember about the Fibroblast is that it is adaptive. They provide the architectural plan for the fascial system and therefore react and adapt to tensional / compressional (Tensegral) stress. Through Mechanotransduction (see previous post: Mechanotransduction), it can transmit forces within the cell as well as from cell to cell through tensional forces. Why is this so important? Fibroblasts provide the architectural framework for bones, nerves, blood, fascia, etc...and therefore all of the structures that depend on those structures.

It is important to remember that the specific adaptation exhibited by the fibroblast is dependant on the mechanical force applied...therefore rendering the type of intervention (also the mode of intervention) a critical consideration for the care-seeker.

In most disorders of movement and posture (Cerebral Palsy, etc) and even most chronic pain disorders, there is a significant weakness / dysfunction of the connective tissue system. This is manifest a a pure weakness of the tissue itself or in a symptomatic way (muscular tension as a result of connective tissue fatigue or failure).

In summary, understanding the fundamental ¨building blocks¨ provides valuable insight into the development, management, and maintenance of the megstructure.


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