The extracellular matrix is no longer considered a static support structure for cells but a dynamic signaling network with the power to influence cell, tissue, and whole organ physiology. In the myocardium, cardiac fibroblasts are the primary cell type responsible for the synthesis, deposition, and degradation of matrix proteins, and they therefore play a critical role in the development and maintenance of functional heart tissue. This review will summarize the extensive research conducted in vivo and in vitro, demonstrating the influence of both physical and chemical stimuli on cardiac fibroblasts and how these interactions impact both the extracellular matrix and, by extension, cardiomyocytes. This work is of considerable significance, given that cardiovascular diseases are marked by extensive remodeling of the extracellular matrix, which ultimately impairs the functional capacity of the heart. We seek to summarize the unique role of cardiac fibroblasts in normal cardiac development and the most prevalent cardiac pathologies, including congenital heart defects, hypertension, hypertrophy, and the remodeled heart following myocardial infarction. We will conclude by identifying existing holes in the research that, if answered, have the potential to dramatically improve current therapeutic strategies for the repair and regeneration of damaged myocardium via mechanotransductive signaling.

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