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Liver Int. 2005 Aug;25(4):829-38.

Fasudil hydrochloride hydrate, a Rho-kinase (ROCK) inhibitor, suppresses collagen production and enhances collagenase activity in hepatic stellate cells.

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Department of Medicine and Bioregulatory Science, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.



The Rho-ROCK signaling pathways play an important role in the activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). We investigated the effects of fasudil hydrochloride hydrate (fasudil), a Rho-kinase (ROCK) inhibitor, on cell growth, collagen production, and collagenase activity in HSCs.


Rat HSCs and human HSC-derived TWNT-4 cells were cultured for studies on stress fiber formation and alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) expression. Proliferation was measured by BrdU incorporation, and apoptosis by TUNEL assay. The phosphorylation states of the MAP kinases (MAPKs), extra cellular signal -regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), c-jun kinase (JNK), and p38 were evaluated by western blot analysis. Type I collagen, matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) and tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) production and gene expression were evaluated by ELISA and real-time PCR, respectively. Collagenase activity (active MMP-1) was also evaluated.


Fasudil (100 microM) inhibited cell spreading, the formation of stress fibers, and expression of alpha-SMA with concomitant suppression of cell growth, although it did not induce apoptosis. Fasudil inhibited phosphorylation of ERK1/2, JNK, and p38. Treatment with fasudil suppressed the production and transcription of collagen and TIMP, stimulated the production and transcription of MMP-1, and enhanced collagenase activity.


These findings demonstrated that fasudil not only suppresses proliferation and collagen production but also increases collagenase activity.

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