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Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Aug;7(8):425-36. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2010.97. Epub 2010 Jun 29.

Evolving challenges in hepatic fibrosis.

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Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Division of Liver Diseases, New York, NY 10029, USA.


Continued elucidation of the mechanisms of hepatic fibrosis has yielded a comprehensive and nuanced portrait of fibrosis progression and regression. The paradigm of hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation remains the foundation for defining events in hepatic fibrosis and has been complemented by progress in a number of new areas. Cellular sources of extracellular matrix beyond HSCs have been identified. In addition, the role of chemokine, adipokine, neuroendocrine, angiogenic and NAPDH oxidase signaling in the pathogenesis of hepatic fibrosis has been uncovered, as has the contribution of extracellular matrix stiffness to fibrogenesis. There is also increased awareness of the contribution of innate immunity and greater understanding of the complexity of gene regulation in HSCs and myofibroblasts. Finally, both apoptosis and senescence have been recognized as orchestrated programs that eliminate fibrogenic cells during resolution of liver fibrosis. Ironically, the progress that has been made has highlighted the growing disparity between advances in the experimental setting and their translation into new diagnostic tools and treatments. As a result, focus is shifting towards overcoming key translational challenges in order to accelerate the development of new therapies for patients with chronic liver disease.

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