Contracting granulation tissues contain fibroblasts that develop characteristics typical of smooth muscle: (a) They contain an extensive cytoplasmic fibrillar system. (b) They show immunofluorescent labeling of their cytoplasm with human anti-smooth muscle serum. (c) The nuclei show complicated folds and indentations, indicative of cellular contraction. (d) There are cell-to-cell and cell-to-stroma attachments. (e) It is possible to extract similar quantities of actomyosin (having the same adenosine triphosphatase activity) from granulation tissue and from pregnant rat uterus. (f) Strips of granulation tissue, when tested pharmacologically in vitro, behave similarly to smooth muscle.
All these data support the view that, under certain conditions, fibroblasts can differentiate into a cell type structurally and functionally similar to smooth muscle and that this cell, the "myo-fibroblast," plays an important role in connective tissue contraction.