Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fibrotic Creep

The boiling fowl is tough because of fibrotic creep. Someone might say of an elderly eclectic gentleman, "He is a tough old bird!" That person is literally, righter than they think. We are all subject to this phenomenon of creep as we become analogous to our boiling cousin! Muscle fibres, which have little capacity to regenerate, are crept into by fibrous strings of collagen, replacing over a life time both voluntary, involuntary and cardiac muscle fibres. Healthy fat cells providing energy storage, heat and insulation are emptied of their contents by Father Time and move to fibrous tissue and the losses that are gradually entailed. Bone, becomes both thinner and less dense, with loss of mineral and change in the fibrous and cartilaginous structure. The fibrous replacement for young collagen does not have the same capacity to mineralize! Toughened fibrous tissue surrounds the joints and loss of resilience limits the range of motion. Gravity flattens the feet which become longer and wider and the fibres around the joints stretch and are painful! If you take a Petri dish and a batch of primitive mesenchymal cells and subject them to varying oxygen tension and varying motion applications, they have the capacity to become fibroblasts, chondroblasts, or osteoblasts, consistent with the milieu you have created for them! This elegant system, when operating at prime of life, has the capacity to restructure and regenerate on demand, fibrous tissue, cartilage or bone. So those primitive cells are the basis of the framework for our body, that houses the vital cells of life. There is a hourglass at work that spells the demise of the magnificent primitive mesenchyme, but not before its last gasp at the vital organs. It is gradual, but as fibrotic creep invades the space of the vital cells, the timbers of the house are joined by the fibrosis of the essential organs within!

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