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Semin Liver Dis. 1999;19(4):397-410.

Biology of hepatic stellate cells and their possible relevance in the pathogenesis of portal hypertension in cirrhosis.

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Dipartimento di Medicina Interna Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy.


In the past 10 years we have witnessed an exponential increase in the knowledge on the development and progression of liver fibrosis. At present, liver fibrogenesis is referred to as a dynamic process involving complex cellular and molecular mechanisms, resulting from the chronic activation of the tissue repair mechanisms that follows reiterated liver tissue injury. The identification and characterization of the cell types and of the different mediators involved in this process has allowed a "revisitation" of several issues related to liver cirrhosis and its immediate consequences. Among these, evaluation of the relationships occurring between fibrogenesis and portal hypertension, cholestasis, and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma represent some of the hottest areas of research in the field of hepatology. Our aim is to establish a link between the available knowledge on the biology of hepatic stellate cells and their possible implication in the genesis and progression of portal hypertension.

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