“Connective tissue: A body-wide signaling network?”

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“Connective tissue: A body-wide signaling network?”

Helene M. Langevin, MD, Medical Hypotheses, Vol 66, Issue 6, 2006, 1074-1077

“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.”

“No known mechanism, however, explains how mechanical forces might be interpreted and integrated at the level of the whole body. Since connective tissue plays an intimate role in the function of all other tissues, a complex connective tissue network system integrating whole body mechanical forces may coherently influence the function of all other physiological systems. Demonstrating the existence of such a ‘metasystem’ would therefore change our core understanding of physiology.”

“Understanding the temporal and spatial dynamics of connective tissue bioelectrical, cellular and tissue plasticity responses, as well as their interactions with other tissues, may be key to understanding how pathological changes in one part of the body may cause a cascade of remote effects in seemingly unrelated areas and organ systems. For example, a patient presenting with a flare up of ulcerative colitis preceded by a two week exacerbation of knee osteoarthritis would probably be thought to have two distinct problems, one in the gut and one in the knee. Establishing the presence of a connective tissue ‘bridge’ between these two medical problems would potentially have important repercussions on both diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. One of the greatest problems of modern medicine is its fragmentation. Connective tissue may be a key missing link needed to improve cross-system integration in both biomedical science and medicine.”