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J Hepatol. 2000;32(1 Suppl):32-8.

New aspects of hepatic fibrosis.

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Medicine, 27599, USA.


Hepatic stellate cells are the major source of extracellular matrix proteins in hepatic fibrosis, including Type I collagen. In response to liver injury, the hepatic stellate cells change from a quiescent to an activated phenotype. This activation process includes a phenotypic change to a myofibroblast-like cell, increased proliferation rate, loss of retinoid stores, increased production of extracellular matrix proteins, chemokines, and cytokines, and contractility. Ongoing studies are characterizing the genes that are differentially expressed in the quiescent and activated hepatic stellate cells. We have also investigated the regulation of Type I collagen expression, the cleavage of collagen propeptides, and the formation of collagen cross-links. Understanding these pathways may provide new insights into the molecular pathogenesis of hepatic fibrosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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