Metabolic dysfunction and inflammatory disease: The role of stromal fibroblasts

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes


Mesenchymal stromal fibroblasts have emerged as key mediators of the inflammatory response and drivers of localised inflammation, in part through their interactions with resident and circulating immune cells at inflammatory sites. As such, they have been implicated in a number of chronic inflammatory conditions as well as in tumour progression through modifying the microenvironment. The connection between metabolic changes and altered phenotype of fibroblasts in inflammatory microenvironments has clear implications for our understanding of how chronic inflammation is regulated and for the development of new anti‐inflammatory therapeutics. In this review, we consider the evidence that changes to fibroblast metabolic state underpin chronic inflammation. We examine recent research on fibroblast metabolism in inflammatory microenvironments and consider their involvement in inflammation, providing insight into the role of fibroblasts and metabolism in mediating inflammatory disease progression namely cancer, arthritis and fibrotic disorders including chronic kidney disease, pulmonary fibrosis, heart disease and liver disease.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalThe FEBS journal
Early online date17 Dec 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Dec 2020


  • fibroblasts, inflammation, innate immune cells, metabolism