The Role of Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor Type-1 in Fibrosis

Panagiotis D Flevaris, Douglas E Vaughan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition during wound healing is a physiological response to an insult. Wound healing becomes deregulated in the setting of chronic injury or long-standing metabolic disease, leading to the accumulation of ECM components and fibrosis. Matrix protein turnover is determined by the rate of synthesis as well as the rate of proteolytic degradation and clearance by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). The persistent activation of interstitial myofibroblasts, coupled with defects in matrix proteolysis, ultimately disrupts tissue architecture and leads to biochemical and mechanical organ dysfunction with eventual organ failure. Plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1 (PAI-1) regulates tissue homeostasis and wound healing by inhibiting plasmin-mediated MMP activation. Multiple reports using models of liver, lung, and kidney fibrosis suggest that PAI-1 deficiency or inhibition of PAI-1 activity attenuates fibrosis. The disinhibition of plasmin-mediated MMP activation leads to collagen degradation and its diminished accumulation, resulting in the reduction of fibrotic matrix deposition in these organs. Paradoxically, homozygous deficiency of PAI-1 promotes age-dependent spontaneous cardiac fibrosis, suggesting a protective role for PAI-1 in the heart. It remains unclear whether PAI-1-deficient cardiac fibroblasts have increased proliferative, migratory, or differentiation capabilities, that allow them to overcome increased plasmin and MMP activity and matrix clearance. In this review, we examine the specific roles of PAI-1 in fibrosis of different organs including the lung, liver, kidney, and cardiovascular system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number02351
Pages (from-to)169-177
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • fibroblast
  • fibrosis
  • matrix
  • plasminogen
  • serpin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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