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Pathophysiology. 2008 Aug;15(2):91-101. doi: 10.1016/j.pathophys.2008.05.001. Epub 2008 Jul 7.

The role of adipokines in liver fibrosis.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, University of Florence, Viale Morgagni 85, I-50134 Florence, Italy.


Liver fibrosis is a dynamic process consisting of the chronic activation of the wound healing reaction in response to reiterated liver damage, leading to the excessive deposition of fibrillar extracellular matrix into the liver and eventually, if the cause of injury is not removed, to liver cirrhosis. The term "adipokines" identifies a group of polypeptide molecules secreted primarily by adipose tissue, which exert local, peripheral and/or central actions. Additionally to their well-established role in controlling adipose tissue physiology, adipokines have been shown to be involved in different obesity-related diseases, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes. Accumulating data demonstrate that obesity and insulin resistance are associated with a more severe and faster progression of the fibrogenic process in different chronic liver diseases. Therefore, numerous recent studies have analyzed the role played by adipokines in the hepatic wound healing process, identifying novel roles as modulators of liver pathophysiology. This review summarizes the more significant and recent findings concerning the role played by adipocyte-derived molecules, such as leptin, adiponectin and resistin, in the liver fibrogenic process. The actions of different adipokines on the biology of liver resident cells, as well as their effects in different animal models of liver injury are discussed. The variations in the circulating levels and in the intrahepatic expression of these molecules occurring in patients with different chronic liver diseases will be also analyzed.

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