Fascia Research from the NIH

Because fascia is made from collagen, the genetic defect from EDS will often cause us problems with this tissue. It’s thin, fragile, stretches too much, and gives way too easily.

PubMed Central® (PMC) is a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM).

Research on the body’s fascia (connective tissue) is finding more and more of its functions and abilities, going far beyond just “holding stuff together”.  I’ve posted here the abstracts of the following 4 articles and you can decide for yourself if they’re worth reading in full.

  1. Smooth Muscle
  2. Visceral Fascia
  3. Bone Tissue
  4. Hormone Receptor Expression in Human Fascial Tissue

The Other Side of the Fascia: The Smooth Muscle Part 1


According to current scientific standards, the fascia is a connective tissue derived from two separate germ layers, the mesoderm (trunk and limbs, part of the neck) and the ectoderm (cervical tract and skull). 

The fascia has the property of maintaining the shape and function of its anatomical district, but it also can adapt to mechanical-metabolic stimuli. Smooth muscle and non-voluntary striated musculature originated from the mesoderm have never been properly considered as a type of fascia. 

They are some of the viscera present in the mediastinum, in the abdomen and in the pelvic floor. 

This text represents the first article in the international scientific field that discusses the inclusion of some viscera in the context of what is considered fascia, thanks to the efforts of our committee for the definition and nomenclature of the fascial tissue of the Foundation of Osteopathic Research and Clinical Endorsement (FORCE).

The Other Side of the Fascia: Visceral Fascia, Part 2


In osteopathic clinical practice and in the teaching of osteopathic medicine, the visceral manipulation approach is included. The knowledge that some viscera satisfy the definition of fascial tissue will allow the osteopath to improve its practice. 

In the second part of the article, we will give a conclusive definition of fascia, and we will explain the embryological development of the heart and how the fascial tissue can be subject to manual treatment. 

This text is the first in the international scientific field that discusses the inclusion of some viscera in the context of what is considered fascia, through our committee for the definition and nomenclature of the fascial tissue of the Foundation of Osteopathic Research and Clinical Endorsement (FORCE).

Bone Tissue is an Integral Part of the Fascial System


Bone tissue is not considered an integral part of the fascial system as per the current definition of fascia. Bodily fasciae derive from the mesoderm, while the fasciae associated with the cranial-cervical area derive from the ectoderm.

Bone tissue or specialized connective tissue follows the same development process, but with a greater admixture between the two embryological sheets. Bone tissue is the largest organ capable of producing autocrine and paracrine substances, influencing its own metabolism and that of other organs. 

This article reviews the functions of bone, the anatomy that determines its shape, and its relationships within an organism. The objective of the article is to provide a scientific rationale for incorporating bone tissue within the definition of fascia, using the most up-to-date scientific knowledge.

Hormone Receptor Expression in Human Fascial Tissue


Many epidemiologic, clinical, and experimental findings point to sex differences in myofascial pain in view of the fact that adult women tend to have more myofascial problems with respect to men. 

It is possible that one of the stimuli to sensitization of fascial nociceptors could come from hormonal factors such as estrogen and relaxin, that are involved in extracellular matrix and collagen remodeling and thus contribute to functions of myofascial tissue. 

Immunohistochemical and molecular investigations (real-time PCR analysis) of relaxin receptor 1 (RXFP1) and estrogen receptor-alpha (ERα) localization were carried out on samples of human fascia collected from 8 volunteers patients during orthopedic surgery (all females, between 42 and 70 yrs, divided into pre- and post-menopausal groups), and in fibroblasts isolated from deep fascia, to examine both protein and RNA expression levels. 

We can assume that the two sex hormone receptors analyzed are expressed in all the human fascial districts examined and in fascial fibroblasts culture cells, to a lesser degree in the post-menopausal with respect to the pre-menopausal women. Hormone receptor expression was concentrated in the fibroblasts, and RXFP1 was also evident in blood vessels and nerves. 

Our results are the first demonstrating that the fibroblasts located within different districts of the muscular fasciae express sex hormone receptors and can help to explain the link between hormonal factors and myofascial pain. It is known, in fact, that estrogen and relaxin play a key role in extracellular matrix remodeling by inhibiting fibrosis and inflammatory activities, both important factors affecting fascial stiffness and sensitization of fascial nociceptors.


2 thoughts on “Fascia Research from the NIH

  1. samanthaharris

    Interesting. The medical preference of surgical procedures doesn’t take into account of the affect of cutting into the fascia system of an EDS patient. Estrogen is known to have amazing properties – that is why illegal hormone market is rife. This research doesn’t really mention men with EDS…?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      I think having a higher estrogen/progesterone ratio keeps our ligaments a little tighter, and the monthly rise of progesterone loosens them a bit as would be necessary for childbirth. Going through such hormonal/physical/mental/emotional cycles makes our bodies SO much more complicated and sensitive than men’s.



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