Heat shock protein 47 (HSP47) is a collagen-specific molecular chaperone that helps the molecular maturation of various types of collagens. A close association between increased expression of HSP47 and the excessive accumulation of collagens is found in various human and experimental fibrotic diseases. Increased levels of HSP47 in fibrotic diseases are thought to assist in the increased assembly of procollagen, and thereby contribute to the excessive deposition of collagens in fibrotic areas. Currently, there is not a good universal histological marker to identify collagen-producing cells. Identifying phenotypically altered collagen-producing cells is essential for the development of cell-based therapies to reduce the progression of fibrotic diseases. Since HSP47 has a single substrate, which is collagen, the HSP47 cellular expression provides a novel universal biomarker to identify phenotypically altered collagen-producing cells during wound healing and fibrosis. In this brief article, we explained why HSP47 could be used as a universal marker for identifying phenotypically altered collagen-producing cells
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